Using Radio Telemetry and Geographic Information Systems to Map and Estimate the Home Range Size and Daily Movement Patterns of Female Cheetahs on Namibia’s Commercial Farmland
Fewer than 10,000 cheetahs remain in the wild in Sub-Saharan Africa.Namibia has the largest population, estimated to be 4,000 cheetahs. Habitat fragmentation and prey depletion from human expansion for agriculture have pushed 90 percent of cheetahs to reside on commercial farmland where there is an absence of larger predators, but where there is conflict with the livestock farmers. Radio telemetry was used to investigate the seasonal variation in home range size among nine female cheetahs on commercial farmlands on or near the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Otjiwarongo, Namibia. ArcGIS 10.3 and Geospatial Modeling Environment were used to calculate the home range size. This was estimated for the overall, annual, monthly, and seasonal variants for each individual cheetah. Nine female cheetahs were tracked in this study; six ofthem were rewilded and three of them were wild. The wild cheetahs had a larger home range estimation compared to the rewilded cheetahs. The home range size and average distance moved (km) between GPS locations had no significance between the seasons basedon the statistical program R 3.2.1. These results in combination with further research can help formulate a long-term conservation plan for the remaining and rewilded cheetah population on Namibia's commercial farmland.