Elusive Saharan Cheetah Caught On Camera

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A yearlong search for an elusive species of Cheetah that roams the desert of Termit, Niger, was finally successful, after an image of the extremely rare cat was captured by one of the strategically situated night cameras.

Believed to be one of only ten left in this landlocked, arid North African country, the slender pale cat that sports a long tail had its face turned directly at the camera, in the slightly murky image, which was captured in mid 2010, but not released until late December.

What made it even more exciting was the fact that while the cats had been spotted in the area three times, they had never before been caught on tape by the scientists from the Saharan Conservation Fund, who have been searching the wildlife reserves of Termit Massig and the neighboring Tin Toumma desert, for over a decade.

With only about 250 of the Saharan Cheetahs left in the world, very little is known about the habits of these mysterious animals, the highest density of which is thought to exist in the deserts of Algeria. From the few photographs that have been captured over the years, scientists have been able to glean a few facts.

While it resembles it cousins that reside in other parts of Africa, a closer look at the photos has revealed that the Saharan Cheetah sports a very unique color and spot patterns. Rarely seen during the day, it is a nocturnal creature - an adaptation to conserve energy from the harsh daylight heat of its habitat.

It has also learnt to live in an environment where food and water is scarce, and seems to largely survive on the Dorcas gazelle, though it also feeds on sheep, hares and even feral monkeys. The cats largely inhabit the mountainous regions where water and prey are more readily available and like their cousins, mark their territories with urine and scats.

The largest threat to their survival is the lack of suitable prey thanks to overuse and poaching. They are also victims of locals, trying to protect their herd of camels and goats from these hungry cats. The researchers have therefore made it a priority to protect the areas where the cats and their natural prey reside and also, try prevent any conflict with the herdsman - hoping that the few remaining Saharan Cheetahs will not only survive, but hopefully, also multiply.

Sources: telegraph.co,uk, dailymail.co.uk, saharaconservation.org

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499 Comments
  • little kellyTuesday, May 2, 2017 at 8:07 am
    awwww
    • swirlycool
      swirlycoolSunday, June 12, 2016 at 11:29 am
      they dont show the picture anymore ;-;
      • fjenkins
        fjenkinsTuesday, November 17, 2015 at 8:18 am
        THAT IS SUPER CUTE AND ADORABLE
        • ProsiddaWednesday, October 14, 2015 at 8:59 am
          Cool
          • mikeyFriday, September 18, 2015 at 11:08 am
            cool he is a gost
            • cmoo8855
              cmoo8855Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 6:20 am
              those are some big big eyes and ears!!!!!
              • one directionWednesday, April 29, 2015 at 8:11 am
                that is so cool
                • kitkat2003
                  kitkat2003Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 5:01 am
                  aww poor thing
                  • Chocolate ChipThursday, March 12, 2015 at 7:45 pm
                    By the way, puppy,that thing has hair...I'm sure of it.
                    • Chocolate ChipThursday, March 12, 2015 at 7:33 pm
                      The second picture looks kinda freaky!