Serengeti Cheetah Project

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Country – Tanzania   

The Serengeti Cheetah Project (SCP) is the world’s longest running scientific project on wild cheetah and has maintained a comprehensive database of all encounters of cheetah across a long-term study area on the Serengeti plains since the 1975. This information has generated many scientific publications and underpins much of what is known about cheetahs in the wild today. All sightings are identified to individual using distinctive spot patterns that are unique to each cheetah. This allows estimation of population size at the end of each year and thus a detailed monitoring of the population over multiple generations. Information gathered by project staff in the field is supplemented by citizen science records from tour guides and tourists through the project’s Cheetah Watch campaign.

Following several years in which cheetah were killed by speeding vehicles, the SCP initiated a Kill Your Speed Campaign by distributing fliers and car stickers to tour guides and tourists to raise awareness of the importance of sticking to speed limits to minimise wildlife casualties.

In combination with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the HGBF also supports a PhD that fits within the work of the SCP. This doctoral research is being conducted by Dennis Minja, formerly the SCP Project Manager, and explores the impacts of tourism and livestock grazing on cheetah hunting behaviour and ranging patterns. This information will be used to provide insights and advice on how to manage grazing and tourist pressure in ways that best support cheetah survival and wellbeing.

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