Tsavo Cheetah Project Research
The Tsavo Cheetah Project (TCP) conducts continuous community interviews on various tribal homesteads bordering the Tsavo East National Park to assess threats posed to the cheetah and their ecosystem. Information compiled provides the project with the critical initial data from locations where cheetah monitoring, conflict investigation, and intervention programs are needed. We also use interviews to evaluate the success of our activities after they have been implemented.
Monitoring with Camera Traps
Setting up a Camera Trap
- As a long-term project in Kenya, TCP monitors cheetahs for trend and threat information on an ongoing basis. We are in the beginning stages of camera trapping for our research into cheetah movements from inside the park onto community land. Data from the cameras will aid in identifying individuals involved in potential livestock depredation. This is important as we explore alternatives to retaliatory killing of cheetahs and other carnivores by neighboring pastoralists. Cameras will further assist us in identifying specific individual cheetahs and allow for future capture-recapture population studies.
Additional cheetah monitoring techniques currently employed by TCP include documentation of direct sightings by photographing cheetahs for future monitoring and recording GPS coordinates, tourists and park staff assisted photographic surveys, and spoor (foot imprint) tracking.
The project plans to expand appropriate research and monitoring activities throughout the Tsavo ecosystem where cheetahs are present, in an ongoing effort to reliably understand their population and conservation status and initiate conservation measures.
- The TCP is working with KWS rangers in Tsavo East to combat the problem of off-road driving and cheetah harassment which has the potential to threaten the cheetah's chances of survival through behavior alteration. By communicating witnessed occasions immediately and directly to park rangers, offenders will be denied access back into the park. We hope this will reduce the impact on the cheetahs and other wildlife of Tsavo.