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Philandering female felines forgo fidelity

the study area.

The findings corroborate established studies on ranging patterns of female and male cheetahs. Female cheetahs occupy a home range averaging some 833 square kilometers in size, whereas a male’s territory averages 37 square kilometers. In many carnivore species, it’s the males that have larger ranges that encompass several female ranges.

“The picture that emerges is that of wide-ranging females mating with a number of males, which could be an advantage in terms of helping to maintain genetic diversity,” said ZSL’s Dada Gottelli, the study’s lead author.

Findings from the study are significant for conservation efforts for the species, which is threatened by a number of human-related causes. Further, cheetahs have always existed in low densities, due to competition from larger predators such as the lion and hyena. “Our study shows that more fathers are contributing to the next generation than we thought,” added Durant. “This is good news for cheetahs, and a reminder that future conservation strategies need to encompass large landscapes if females are to continue to have access to many males.”

In addition to helping save cheetahs in Africa, WCS is also studying the last remaining populations of Asia’s cheetahs in Iran.
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Source:Wildlife Conservation Society


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