Finding cheetah is difficult in the thick bush of the Kalahari. Researchers are aware that male cheetahs in particular, like to regularly use “marking trees” to demarcate their territory. But how does one find a marking tree, especially when starting afresh in new areas? CCB has been trialling the use of lures, in order to create artificial marking trees. Lures are any object that may be used to attract a cheetah and may include items that are shiny, colourful or stand out in the bland environment. Our pilot study has used camera traps placed at strategic trees to monitor whether lures have been able to encourage cheetahs to visit these sites. In particular, we identified trees that we knew were not previously known marking trees as well as including known ones. Preliminary results have found cheetahs not only approached trees with lures, but also actively marked these trees with urine. Trials will be expanded in order to ensure the effectiveness of using lures, but the value of simple techniques can be used to enhance our monitoring of cheetah, improving our ability to capture cheetah for research purposes and may even have some mitigation value if cheetahs can be attracted away from conflict areas.
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