Imagine you are a herder. You have a big problem with these wild animals. They are coming close to your livestock and they make your herd nervous and they kill.
Herders are dependent on the money they get from herding. So who cares if it is a cheetah, a wolf or leopard. They are no good and there is no other way then to kill them whenever there is a chance. Or is there?
The ICS discusses with farmers and herders the problems and looks for solutions. In parts of Africa and now also in Iran a good solution is guard dogs and fences wherever possible. Donkeys are also a good alternative to guard dogs. Not only they can carry heavy weights, they are also extremely territorial which means that they defend their home by all means. Not without reason they are known as obstinate.
So finally you can sleep well with your herd guarded and you can be proud of your beautiful homeland with these wonderful rare animals. Instead of hunting them you now understand and give the message to others.
There was not enough understanding when Marita, a cheetah cub, came to close to a village. She went there on a hot day on the 31st of August 1994 with her siblings and her mother to get water.
Her mother ran away and her siblings got shot. She had to grow up in captivity because without her mother she was never able to learn how to survive in the wild. But her story was very well known among Iranians and every year since 2009 on the 31st of August a cheetah day takes place which creates more and more awareness.
In Iran the ICS is working to ensure that no more cheetahs get killed by farmers and herders.
Informing children is essential for the future!
A mother is hiding in her little dent made of grass in the woodlands with her new born cubs. Not a place where you would expect a cheetah. But a great place to hide she figured.
No villages with people nearby and no other predators who could be a threat. The wild boars are having their own offspring so food is not a problem. It is spring and water is not far. Everything seems to be perfect. But something is not right. It smells strange. There is danger … it is a poacher.
Without knowledge about where cheetahs live the wrong areas will be protected by gamekeepers. An easy catch for a poachers. Areas where cheetahs bring up their cubs and where prey live can be better protected.
Cheetah mothers are very cautious when they have their cubs
Members of the ICS install camera traps on places where cheetahs live to find out more about their behaviour.
One day they managed to take pictures of cheetahs being active at night. But what did they do? Isn’t it known that cheetahs don’t hunt at night to avoid other predators in the same territory? Because they do, it leads one to suspect that they hunt small rodents which are nocturnal. If that snack is worth the effort is still not clear, but a step closer to understanding.
How does a camera trap work?
Camera traps are remotely activated cameras that is equipped with a motion sensor or an infrared sensor. They are activated by this sensor when body heat or movement from an animal is detected. Day and night these cameras provide a glimpse into a previously unseen behaviour of some of the most endangered species on Earth.
A large family near Turkmenistan border taken by a camera trap.
This female cheetah must be an experienced mom, successfully raised all her three cubs to the age of one. It is surprising how this large group survived among herds of livestock who have traditional grazing permissions within the area’s pastures in winters.
A camera trap of the ICS
Cheetah at night. Picture taken by a camera trap.
The great advantage of camera trapping is that they can record very accurate data without the animal being captured. They minimally disturb wildlife and can replace the use of more invasive survey and monitoring techniques such as live trap and release.
Without proven knowledge it is difficult to do anything meaningful for the conservation of the species.
For more information about projects and the scientists who work with cheetahs and other animals in Iran please have a look at the