In our project, we are utilizing downloadable matching software to assist us with accurate identification for mark/recapture studies. This involves fitting a 3D surface model to the photographs to capture the spot pattern. All images are stored in a library where new images can be compared to those scanned previously. The software then displays the most likely matches. Combined with manual identification and other useful information on the cheetah (e.g. sex, approximate age etc), this technique has proven to be quite useful in monitoring cheetah populations.
Respect the cheetah, by approaching them in a non-threatening, slow zig-zag fashion, as opposed to straight on, and give them space – do not surround them; Turn your engine off, or inform your tour driver to, when stopping to observe and photograph cheetahs. Stay quiet, and never restart your engine when a cheetah is stalking prey; If you see someone else ‘harassing a cheetah’, please report them to Park officials, as cheetah harassment is not permitted in any parks or reserves in Kenya and it is a threat to the cheetah’s survival. Photo credits: Alexandre Boudet