music; ambience: cheetah purring
Picture a cheetah, and the African plains come to mind. While Africa is home to most of these animals, a small population of cheetahs makes its home in the Middle East, where collaborative wildlife conservation has transcended political tensions. Welcome to Pulse of the Planetâ€™s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside.
â€œFrom 2001 weâ€™ve been involved mainly in helping the Iranian Government Wildlife Authority the Department of Environment manage areas in a way that is good for cheetahs.â€
Luke Hunter is a biologist who studies the worldâ€™s wild cats. There are 36 species worldwide, including the Asiatic Cheetah. North-central Iran is home to a critically endangered population of less than 100 of these animals.
â€œOne of the threats to cheetahs, amazingly, even though itâ€™s very remote, arid areas, is being killed on roads, because thereâ€™s major highways throughoften through the protected areas themselves, but, if not, adjacent to, and cheetahs, of course, are crossing highways. And thereâ€™s enough anecdotal reporting to give us the suspicion that there are some real hotspots here.â€
In an effort to isolate the hot spots where cheetahs may be crossing the highway, Hunterâ€™s team has outfitted two animals with tracking collars.
â€œWeâ€™ve had the first attempt ever to capture Asiatic cheetahs and put GPS collars on them, and we were successful with this terrific, exciting recent news of capturing two Asiatic cheetahs. So now for the first time in history, we actually have GPS collars on two of the last remaining Asiatic cheetahs, which will be terrifically useful to see whether or not there are sort of hotspots along those highways where we need to plan much better, we need to devote resources in some way to addressing that.â€
Pulse of the Planetâ€™s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. Iâ€™m Jim Metzner.