Cheetah and Habitat Monitoring in Salama
Research in the Salama region provides an opportunity to identify patterns of cheetah movement in relationship to livestock losses that in turn aids in conflict mitigation. Cheetah monitoring, conflict evaluation and mitigation together with game counts for cheetah prey trend analysis have been the focus of our endeavors at Salama since 2005. Cheetah Field officers collect data on cheetah and wildlife movements in the Salama field site through patrols, walking transects and KWS “MIST” monitoring (a standardized approach using KWS forms to assist in the monitoring of wildlife while simultaneously analyzing the influence of humans on wildlife habitats).
As part of the student projects, hair catalogues using hairs of potential prey and predator species was prepared and a photo analysis of the same was done to create a reference guide and dichotomous chart for fecal hair identification. A scat washing methodology was adopted for cheetah species identification.
Cheetah and Habitat Monitoring in Samburu
ACK chose the Meibae Conservancy as a base because of the frequency of cheetah sighting reports and began working in this area in 2009. Monitoring patrols, walking transects, non-invasive fecal sampling techniques and radio collaring are among the array of methods ACK uses to map habitat use, analyze cheetah sustainability and determine prey selection. Field officers investigate livestock losses to develop mitigation strategies in this region.In 2014, ACK formalized a long-term commitment to this area and will begin the process of developing a field station in the conservancy in 2015.
Improved Livestock protection
ACK participates in local agriculture shows to share study results and discuss predator loss prevention methods with a greater farming community. Boma designs are presented as miniature models and handouts are given to assist in improved livestock protection. Use of livestock guarding dogs to protect small stock from cheetah attacks and other viable husbandry practices are evaluated and implemented as needed. ACK officers also worked with Green Rural African Development to install a predator deterrent lighting system to prevent predator attacks on livestock holding areas. ACK staff are available to consult with farmers at their homes and to assist in boma construction. A herder certification program is being developed.
Fecal Analysis and Detection Dogs
Cheetah scats (fecal samples) were collected in 2012-2013 as a pilot for non-invasive cheetah monitoring in Salama and Athi-Kapiti. Over 200 scats were collected by researchers, staff and volunteers. We also piloted a detection dog program aimed at increasing our effectiveness in positively identifying cheetah scat. Project results are shared with KWS and communities as a means of understanding cheetah prey selection in community areas. Detection dogs will be used on a national scale once pilot testing is completed in our primary study sites.
National Cheetah Survey
The second national survey is being planned to be launched in 2015 through pilot tests of methods in the Salama, Athi-Kapiti and Samburu area.. A rapid survey will be conducted from 2016-2018 across the entire cheetah range. The survey will evaluate trends in cheetah population using methods of rapid survey through observational and qualitative interview data collection. The data collected during the survey will develop a model for cheetah occupancy and stability to identify critical areas for long-term cheetah conservation strategies.
Support our work
ACK needs your help to support our scouts and the community so we can accomplish our goal of conservation of the cheetahs in Kenya. You can also purchase COOL Crafts online now.
With your help we can continue our research and conversation activities.
- One day School presentation
- One month of phone credit for one staff member
- Printing of one conflict mitigation tool kit
- Printing of one student workbook
- Full set of vaccinations (Rabies and Distemper) for a dog or cat