Botswana has the second highest population of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) with most living outside protected areas. As a result, many cheetahs are found in farming areas, bringing them into conflict with people. This study aimed to look at movement patterns of cheetahs in farming environments to determine whether cheetahs have adapted their movements in these human-dominated landscapes. We fitted high-time resolution GPS collars to cheetahs in the Ghanzi farmlands of Botswana. GPS locations were used to calculate home range sizes as well as number and duration of visits to landscape features using a time-based local convex hull method. Cheetahs had medium-sized home ranges compared to previously studied cheetah in similar farming environments. Results showed that cheetahs actively visited scent marking trees and avoided visiting homesteads. A slight preference for visiting game farms over cattle farms was found but there was no difference in duration of visits between farm types. We conclude that cheetahs selected for areas that are important for their dietary and social needs and prefer to avoid human-occupied areas. Improved knowledge of how cheetahs use farmlands can allow farmers to make informed decisions when developing management practices and can be an important tool for reducing human-wildlife conflict.
- Received August 2, 2016.
- Accepted November 30, 2016.
- © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.