Biology: Cheetahs are well known as the fastest land mammal, reaching a record speed of 93km/h. Top speeds are only sustainable over short distances, resulting in cheetahs catching their prey (typically small to medium sized ungulates) after short pursuits. Unlike lions and leopards, cheetah hunt during the day, which is likely to be a strategy to avoid competition with other predators. Although very successful hunters, cheetah loose over 10% of their kills to other predators.
Cheetahs tend to be solitary, however cubs remain with their mother for approximately 18months and males may form small coalitions. They occupy dry forest and scrub, grasslands and deserts in relatively low densities, requiring large connected areas of habitat to survive and reproduce.
Red list category: Vulnerable
Threats: There are approximately 6,700 cheetahs remaining in the wild, reduced to 10% of their historical range in Africa. Due to their low natural densities and large homeranges, cheetahs are particularly vulnerable to habitat and connectivity loss. Cheetah also encounter human conflict when targeting livestock, which may increase as natural prey is depleted further by livestock pressure and habitat loss.