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Iran's cheetah brothers roaming far and wide in search of food and a mate

30/07/2012 22:08:59
world/mid_east/iran_Cheetah_Brothers1

The cheetah brothers in Iran have been covering large distances. Photo credit ICS

Cheetah "brothers" Are Now in Ariz
July 2012. Born in Iran's Siahkouh National Park in the spring of 2010, two cheetah siblings are now roaming in the zone known as the ‘ Ariz No Hunting Area' in central Iran. After losing a sibling during their first few months, the cheetahs, accompanied by their mum, walked more than 130 kilometres through vast deserts of central Iran to arrive in Dare Anjir Wildlife Refuge in summer 2011.

Since last winter, they have dispersed southward and now they are ranging in Ariz, a newly established reserve just south of Dare Anjir. After the brother's became independent from their mum, she departed Dare Anjir and returned 130 kilometres (at least) back to Siahkouh.

In the meantime, the "brothers" who roamed most of Dare Anjir (1750 km2), and occasionally even outside of the reserve boundary during the last winter, were sometimes joined by another probably un-related young male to form a coalition of three males. However, camera traps indicate that their coalition was not stable during winter, and sometimes the new male preferred a solitary life.

Now, they are together most of the time and it seems that they have established their new home range in Ariz, just north of Bafq, because fewer movements have been detected between different camera trap stations. The brothers have now safely negotiated their second year of life and were photo-trapped regularly while urinating at different cheetah sign posts. The story will continue as camera traps are still active across their range to monitor their presence and activities.

Together with lions, cheetahs are the only cats that live in groups. Males, particularly relatives, often join together to form coalition in order to have a better chance of survival, hunting and reproduction.

Asiatic cheetah
Occurring in very low density, the Asiatic cheetahs have been less subject to systematic monitoring in Iran. Three years ago, it became an important objective in the country which led to the largest ever camera trapping program in Iran, initiated last winter within four reserves in central Iran. The monitoring program was conducted by the Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) and Yazd Department of Environment in partnership with Conservation of Asiatic Cheetah Project (CACP) and Panthera. Now, the effort is extending toward the northern population to cover more areas of the cheetah territory in the country. Undoubtedly, such monitoring information can provide reliable decision making tools for conservationists and managers to save the cheetahs in Iran.

The brothers caught on camera trap - Photo courtesy of the Iranian Cheetah Society 

 

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