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Prey preference

Reliable data on the prey preference of Cheetah is available from only a small number of Metapopulation reserves. Nevertheless information collected from reserve managers, volunteers, conservation NGO workers and postgraduate students suggest that main prey items vary considerably amongst the management clusters (Table 3).

Table 3. Main prey items in the Metapopulation management clusters.

Although Kudu (
Tragelaphus strepsiceros) are the main prey item in only two Metapopulation reserves, they constitute the only prey species that is consistently taken on all Metapopulation reserves. When abundant, Ostrich (Struthio camelus), Common Reedbuck (Redunca arundinum) and Mountain Reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula) are regularly taken. Kalahari Cheetah target notably different prey items compared to other Metapopulation Cheetah (Table 3). Eland calves (Taurotragus oryx) are also regularly taken in this cluster. Unusual prey items taken by Metapopulation Cheetah include very young Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus), Blue Duiker (Philantomba monticola), Bushpig (Potamochoerus larvatus), Cane Rats (Thryonomys gregorianus), Scrub-hare (Lepus saxatilis), Oribi (Ourebia ourebi) and White-tailed Mongoose (Ichneumia albicaudu). Larger antelope species that are taken only in exceptional circumstances include the young of Hartebees (Alcelaphus caama), Tsessebe (Damaliscus lunatus), Roan (Hippotragus equinus) and Sable (Hippotragus niger).

The use of fencelines to corner prey whilst hunting has been directly observed in nine reserves.