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Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)- Data, Pictures & Videos

Acinonyx sp. Offline
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^Continued:

Discussion
Recent, ongoing, and imminent species declines have prompted conservation focused research outputs (e.g. [55,56,57,58]). To make worthwhile steps towards successful conservation, it is important to not only know about populations and habitat requirements, but also about species’ behaviour, to ensure all ecological and biological needs can be met. To ensure that natural behaviours are not compromised, monitoring techniques should be minimally invasive [59], for example through the use of remote sensing technologies (such as lightweight GPS and accelerometer devices). Whilst the use of such devices has been gaining momentum for decades, interpretation of their outputs for behavioural categorisation is relatively recent, especially when high resolution and precision are desired (e.g. [3137,38,39,40]).
The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is listed as ‘vulnerable’ [46] with wild populations purportedly decreasing [47]. However, descriptions of their movements and behaviour (particularly fine-scale behaviour) remain scarce [7304149]. Accelerometry has been used to describe coarse behaviours in cheetahs; Grünewälder et al. [41] determined “mobile”, “stationary” and “feeding” with 84–94% accuracy and Shepard et al. [33] provide (without categorisation metrics) acceleration traces of walking, chasing, and trotting behaviours. In the current study, three RF models were constructed for fine-, medium-, and coarse-scale behaviour determination on high (“GCDC”, Maximum acceleration: ~ 8 g; Frequency: 50 Hz) and lower (“CEFAS”, Maximum acceleration: ~ 2 g; Frequency: 30 Hz) capacity devices. Using coarse modelling approaches (behaviours categorised as “Active”, “Inactive”, or “Head movement”.), RF analysis rendered consistent results (93% accuracy) between the two devices. Both devices categorised inactive behaviours well (GCDC = 95.0% accuracy and CEFAS = 95.5% accuracy), with the CEFAS logger performing best (Table 5). However, head movement could be described with just over 50% accuracy using CEFAS loggers (over 10% lower than GCDC devices), often confused with inactivity, which may be due to the core body remaining stationary. This finding suggests that even the use of collars does not guarantee reliable detection of head movement, which may, in fact, be beneficial if coarsely categorising behaviours. Head movement categorisation was better with GCDC devices (GCDC = 61.3% and CEFAS = 50.3% accuracy), which is probably due to their higher frequency recording so slight, short-lived movements were more likely to be detected [60]. In this model, dynamic acceleration (VeDBA and heave) was consistently important across both devices, which is unsurprising given the disparity in dynamic motion between the three categories. However, static acceleration in the heave and surge axes were also important parameters for the CEFAS logger, and several additional measures of static acceleration were important for the GCDC loggers (e.g. VeSBA), suggesting that postural changes may also play a significant role, especially as logger sensitivity increases. Practically, it is important to ensure consistent logger attachment, and device capacity and configuration should be considered when using results from previous studies to underpin novel research. The results of the current study are consistent with the only other study to categorise cheetah behaviour remotely using accelerometers [41]; “stationary” (“inactive”) behaviours were most accurately classified, followed by “mobile” (“active”) behaviours (Table 6). Feeding was specifically measured in this study rather than more generic “head movement” so the two categories may not be directly comparable. Classification of active behaviour was better in the current study and the overall performance was slightly better, which may be due to differences between the loggers used (bi-axial versus tri-axial), logger configuration, or analytical approach (SVM versus RF).




Fine-scale behaviours
One objective of the current study was to determine whether fine-scale cheetah behaviours could be categorised using accelerometers. Such data could provide information on cheetah ecology and assist conservation efforts. For example, if foraging requirements (indicated by chases and stalks), the frequency of abandoned hunts (by identification of stalks with no subsequent pursuit), or changes in behaviour associated with life history such as rearing offspring could be identified accurately, specific ecological needs could be addressed by ensuring prey and habitat requirements were met. In the current study, a fine- and medium-scale behaviour categorisation model was produced for each accelerometer device; the finest-scale model included all behaviours that could be derived from video footage, whilst the medium-scale model collapsed several of these categories together, resulting in marginally coarser classification. Although both performed less well than coarse (active/inactive/head movement) models, there was little difference between the fine- and medium-scale models themselves. As such, it may be prudent to categorise behaviours on the finest or coarsest scales as they are more accurate (coarsest) or the benefit of additional behavioural information outweighs the marginal cost in accuracy (finest). To our knowledge, this study represents the most ambitious attempt to elucidate cheetah behaviour, with the highest resolution, fine-scale models incorporating 16 behaviours, and the coarser, medium-scale models including 11. Across both sets of models and both devices lying, lying stalks, and sitting stalks were always classified with over 90% accuracy; in fact, sitting stalks were classified with 100% accuracy on the GCDC loggers. This is the first time that these behaviours have been classified remotely with such accuracy in cheetahs. Stalks usually occur prior to pursuits of prey in cheetahs [61] so knowledge of the habitats that may facilitate stalks and successful hunts could be of great importance for survival. As such, acceleration data combined with GPS locations could provide vital insights for conservation. Furthermore, sedentary behaviours were categorised with a high degree of accuracy, which, when combined with other approaches, may provide insights into cheetahs’ physiological and habitat requirements.
The lowest (walking) and highest intensity (galloping) locomotory behaviours were categorised best with a higher error rate for intermediate trotting and cantering. Nevertheless, classification accuracy of walking and galloping was always between 68 and 78%. As footfall and rhythmicity of each locomotory gait varies (Fig. 4), incorporating periodicity may beneficial to differentiate them [28] but may be limited by rapid transitions between them and a lack of continuous measurements of any one in isolation. Correct identification of each gait could assist conservation efforts by providing insights into hunting and evasion, potentially facilitating the identification of areas favoured for hunting or resting, or those where cheetahs may be threatened by other species. Incorporation of lab-based techniques, such as indirect calorimetry, would allow us to determine the relative energetic cost of each behaviour and the overall proportion of their daily energy expenditure attributable to each [62]. Such an approach would inform management strategies, potentially reducing conflict with livestock owners [10].



Pouncing represented the worst categorised behaviour, with only 4.8% accuracy on the CEFAS logger (Table 4). This poor performance is likely due to a combination of low recording frequency, the instantaneous nature of the behaviour, and its rarity. However, pouncing is likely to be uncommon in free-ranging adult cheetahs, which primarily implement stalk-and-chase hunting strategies [61]. As such, the low classification accuracy in this context is not concerning but may be problematic when trying to define the behaviour in ambush hunters.
It is worth noting as a caveat that certain behaviours were underrepresented in the datasets e.g. pouncing and stalking, with some others overrepresented (e.g. sedentary behaviours such as lying). This imbalance may have affected how the data were split into training, validation, and test data and, ultimately, the models. However, with the approach taken here ecologically important behaviours such as stalking could be incorporated into the models and was likely to be randomly selected for a split based on its representivity. The result was reasonably reliable models (according to accuracy, MSE, RMSE, and r2) with several under-, over- and well-represented behaviours being predicted accurately,
Application and experimental design
Generally, there was good consistency in model accuracy between CEFAS and GCDC accelerometer data. However, it is important to note that whilst CEFAS loggers categorised more behaviours with > 90% accuracy (n = 8; Table 4), than the GCDC loggers (n = 7), the latter categorised fewer behaviours with < 50% accuracy (GCDC: n = 1; CEFAS: n = 6). It is therefore important to determine a priori, where possible, the scale at which behavioural categorisation is desired and select devices and analytical models accordingly.
Whilst reliable categorisation was established for some cheetah behaviours, the GCDC logger outperformed the CEFAS logger in both fine- and medium-scale models (Table 5). Two potential reasons may explain this better performance: GCDC loggers could record higher accelerations (~ 8 g versus the ~ 2 g capacity of the CEFAS loggers) and were set to record at higher frequencies (50 Hz vs. 30 Hz). During high intensity galloping the CEFAS loggers reached maximum capacity, which may have led to a high frequency of correct categorisation for this behaviour but it may also have contributed to a high false positive rate for other, relatively high intensity behaviours such as trotting. Whilst locomotory behaviours were most often confused with adjacent behaviours for both loggers (e.g. cantering was most likely to be confused with trotting or galloping), trotting, cantering, and trotting stalks were the only locomotory behaviours identified with < 50% accuracy (occurring on the CEFAS loggers). Recording frequency may be important as higher logging rates will generate more data, rendering more information for entrainment of RF models. Recording frequency may be particularly important for rarely occurring and short-lived behaviours such as pouncing. Whilst a multitude of variables were used to entrain RF models, it is possible that others may also assist in categorising behaviours, for example, periodicity (movement rhythmicity) may be useful in discriminating between various locomotory gaits [28]. As there were significant performance differences between the two devices, there is an onus on researchers to select those with an appropriate specification for their study species, or, indeed, to use multiple different loggers in tandem on the same individual.
Behaviours have previously been categorised using accelerometer data loggers without the use of complementary video capture in cheetahs [33] and other species [42]. In such studies, behaviours are usually differentiated via variations in dynamic body accelerations and posture. However, if such an approach were implemented here, fine-scale sedentary behaviours would have been erroneously categorised, resulting in misinterpretation of species behavioural ecology. For example, resting behaviours such as standing or lying down could have been confused with sedentary stalks, where the former would signify true resting but the latter would indicate an attempted hunt. It is therefore recommended that data collected on accelerometer devices are synchronised with an extensive behavioural repertoire for the species.

Conclusions
In this study we found that the ability to categorise behaviours differed significantly between data loggers. The results of the current study can be used to form the basis of remotely monitoring coarse- and fine-scale behaviours of the vulnerable cheetah. Knowledge of their behaviours can inform cheetah biology and ecology, particularly when combined with other loggers such as GPS. Once the basic needs of the cheetah have been firmly established, the efficacy of conservation and management practices can be maximised, and strategies can be implemented to mitigate human-cheetah conflict. The approach taken here may be adopted in remote-sensing studies of other species but careful consideration of logger capacity and recording frequency is recommended.

Availability of data and materials
All data generated or analysed during this study and analysis code are included in supplementary information files.
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Kalahari Cheetahs interacting with Homo Sapien




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Why do hunting cheetahs prefer male gazelles?

Cheetahs, Acinonyx jubatus, in the Serengeti National Park kill more male Thomson's gazelles, Gazella thomsoni, than expected from the sex ratio of the local population. This paper examines whether behavioural differences between male and female gazelles predispose males to higher rates of predation. Cheetahs hunting groups of Thomson's gazelles preferentially selected individuals that were positioned on the periphery of groups, were further from their nearest neighbours, were in areas of high vegetation, were less vigilant and were either in small groups or on their own. As a result, male Thomson's gazelles, which tended to concentrate on the periphery of groups, had greater nearest-neighbour distances, were less vigilant and were found in smaller groups, were more vulnerable than females and were preferentially selected from groups. There was no evidence that males were more vulnerable because they tended to concentrate in areas of high vegetation. Overall, gazelles in groups were far less vulnerable to predation than solitary individuals and the fact that males spent so much more time alone than females was another factor contributing to their high risk of predation; although solitary males were actually better at escaping once chased by cheetahs than solitary females, the difference in escape ability was not sufficient to offset the high number of attacks experienced by males as a result of their more solitary behaviour.
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Queuing, takeovers, and becoming a fat cat: Long-term data reveal two distinct male spatial tactics at different life-history stages in Namibian cheetahs

In mammals, male spatial tactics and sociality can be predicted from the size, degree of overlap and ease of defense of female individual or group home ranges (HRs). An exception is apparently the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) for which studies from East Africa describe a socio-spatial organization where resident males defend small territories, which cover a portion of large ranges of solitary females, and non-territorial males (floaters) roam over vast areas whilst queuing for access to territories. Most studies from southern Africa did not report the existence of territorial males and floaters, but a system with both males and females roaming over vast areas with overlapping HRs. Here, we derive and test predictions from previously described spatial tactics in felids by studying the movements, behavior, and/or physical characteristics of 164 radio-collared Namibian cheetahs on commercial farmland from 2002 to 2014. The results demonstrate the existence of male territory holders and floaters and a, by mammalian standards, unique sociality in that commonly groups of males, sometimes solitary males defended small areas partially overlapping with large ranges of solitary females. When a solitary male or a group of males switched between both tactics, floating usually preceded territory holding, suggesting that both spatial phases are equivalent to distinct life-history stages. Switching from roaming as a floater to holding a territory was also associated with an increase in body mass index (BMI) and a change in the observed behavior of animals captured in traps when approached by humans. Both BMI and this behavior are therefore reliable, quick biomarkers of an individual's space use tactic and life-history stage. We elaborate the implications of this socio-spatial organization for models of ecological movements and on conflict mitigation measures such as translocations or the planning of future protected areas. We suggest that such implications also apply to other species where one sex exhibits two space use tactics and two sets of range sizes.



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Algerian cheetah

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OCULAR ABNORMALITIES OF CHEETAHS EXAMINED AT AFRICAT 

Introduction 

Over the past years a number of cheetahs in Namibia have been examined ophthalmologically. Equipment used during this examination included a slit lamp biomicroscope, indirect and direct ophthalmoscope, Schiotz tonometer, fluorescein stain and gonioscopy lens. The animals were anaesthetised for the annual health checks at Africat in Namibia, or were examined at the time of presentation for blindness. A high incidence of ocular trauma ranging from mild scarring of the lids and/or cornea, through to mature cataracts, severe endophthalmitis and phthisis bulbi was found. It is theorised that this is as a result of the cheetah being forced to hunt in bushencroached areas – a habitat not ideally suited to the hunting methods of the cheetah. Blindness or severe visual impairment spells death for a wild cheetah, and could thus impact greatly on the sustainability of the wild cheetah population of Namibia. In 1997, four cheetahs were presented for ocular examination and assessment of visual status as these animals were presumed to be blind. Two were adult animals found in the wild in poor physical health and on the brink of death (one old male of unknown age, and 1one adult female, also of unknown age, with three six-week old cubs at foot), while the other two were young animals approximately one year old that had been born in captivity and hand raised. The two young animals were found to have bilateral mature cataracts with no signs of any other ocular defects. These cataracts were assumed to be either of congenital or nutritional origin. The adult animals were found to have severe signs of ocular trauma, including lid and nictitans scars, penetrating scar tracts of the cornea, severe synechiation and mature cataracts. In the female, foreign bodies were found in the cornea of one eye (two thorn tips), with the presence of severe uveitis in this eye. These animals, following appropriate care and treatment, all underwent successful cataract extraction surgery by phacoemulsification lentectomy technique. These findings prompted an investigation into the cause of the cataracts in adult wild-caught animals to try to ascertain whether the ocular trauma was secondary to the visual deficits present as a result of the cataracts. 


Conclusion 
It was shown beyond doubt in this study that there is a high incidence of ocular trauma in wild free-living cheetahs in Namibia. This trauma was as a result of thorn or foliage damage to the lids, nictitans and cornea - the latter being the most significant, as there was a high incidence of evidence of penetrating corneal injury leading to either uveitis with secondary cataract formation, or direct damage of the anterior capsule of the lens with posterior synechiae formation and cataracts. It is of concern that the incidence, severity and consequences of ocular trauma is of such a nature that it could impact severely on the longevity of a cheetah in a bush-encroached environment. As similar incidences of ocular trauma are not found in lion and leopard populations in the preliminary studies done, and because these cats generally live in thicker bush habitat than the cheetah, it is surmised that factors are present which are adversely affecting the health of the cheetah’s eyes in the wild. It is proposed from this study that the anatomy of the cheetah’s skull, its large forward-facing exposed eyes, its body designed for speed rather than stealth hunting and its habit of hunting predominantly during the day, make it the ideal hunter for open grassland or plains. As the cheetah in Namibia is being restricted to overgrazed, bush-encroached areas, it is forced to hunt in this type of vegetation, leading to the high incidence of ocular trauma encountered.
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Feline Coronavirus in African Cheetah Populations

Management of self-sustaining populations of cheetahs has been problematic, as evidenced by continuing poor health and declining numbers. Infectious disease agents, including feline coronavirus (FCoV), continue to be causes of concern for these populations because of potential health problems and restrictions on moving breeding animals. The 2005 international meeting of the Association of Zoos and Aquaria (AZA) Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP) Health Management Group recommended broader surveillance for FCoV infection be conducted among captive populations to 1) determine the prevalence of infection, 2) identify persistently infected animals and 3) assess the effects of FCoV on health. FIP appears to occur only in a minority of FCoV infections, including in cheethas. However, enteritis associated with FCoV has resulted in mild to severe chronic diarrhea in several felid species, including cheetahs, and has been associated with less specific signs of disease including weight loss, depression, and inappetence. Recent studies have shown an association of FCoV with enterocolitis; ongoing pathology surveillance of the AZA Cheetah SSP population and maintenance of a comprehensive pathology database led to detection of chronic enterocolitis as an emerging problem that may be associated with FCoV infection. Because of the concern over potential disease development, FCoV infection directly impacts management, most importantly the pairing of breeding animals, and movement of animals among facilities for breeding purposes. Because of the need to maintain genetic diversity in the endangered cheetah, these restrictions on moving infected animals may be a more important consequence of infection than the risk of disease in individual cheetahs. A better understanding of the epidemiology and pathogenesis of this virus in cheetah populations is essential to the management decision-making process. Establishment and maintenance of a FCoV-free population is not feasible, but managing cheetahs to minimize exposure of naïve animals and minimize disease is a reasonable goal. To this end, a better understanding of the epidemiology and pathogenesis of the virus in cheetah populations will be critical. 

Previous studies 
in African populations: We tested a total of 342 animals in the Republic of South Africa and Namibia, including 140 wildcaught animals, for evidence of FCoV infection from 1999 through 2001. Past or current infection was evaluated by serology and/or active virus infection evaluated by reverse transcription/nested polymerase chain reaction (RT/nPCR) on feces. Over 50% of the animals from Southern Africa tested by serology and RT/nPCR had evidence of infection. These results were not limited to captive animals, as 41 of 140 animals originating in wild populations also may have been infected with FCoV. While no conclusions about prevalence nor significance of FCoV in wild populations can be made, as some animals were tested after arrival at the captive institution, the source in all cases was virus from the wild indicating its presence in these populations. There was a significant difference between the prevalence of sero- and RT/nPCR-positive cheetahs at the South African institutions as compared with the Namibian institution. This may be related to fact that all of the Namibian animals were wild-caught, while most of the South African cats were bred in captivity. Housing and management also differed. In Namibia, the cheetahs are kept in small groups in camps ranging from 10-50 hectares with little or no contact with neighbors. In South Africa, the housing is much more intensive with animals in contact with neighboring animals through fences. In addition, movement of animals to enclosures previously inhabited by other cheetahs is continuous. It is notable that there is a low prevalence of FIP in these institutions in southern Africa. Only one case has been reported despite a high incidence of FCoV infection. A possible explanation for this is that the virus occurring cheetahs in southern Africa is largely nonpathogenic. Ten of 48 animals tested at more than one time point by RT/nPCR were shedding virus at multiple time points, possibly indicating persistent infection. These persistently infected animals may be an important source of infection for contact animals. 

Evidence of FCoV exposure in free-ranging Namibian cheetahs: 
With a serosurvey of 81 free-ranging Namibian cheetahs, we determined that 29% had antibodies against FCoV, by using an indirect immunofluorescence assay. No cases of FIP or enterocolitis were detected in an additional 49 cheetahs necropsied from this same population in contrast to seven cases of FIP in an age-matched, captive population. Although this pathology survey was limited in scope and may have been biased toward healthy animals, the results suggest that FCoV may be more pathogenic in captive animals. Evidence of chronic stress in captive animals may influence the host response to infectious agents such as FCoV. 

Screening of samples collected 2006/07: 
Of 66 samples collected from Pretoria Zoo, de Wildt Cheetah Conservation Centre, Cheetah Conservation Fund, Cheetah Conservation Botswana, Cango, Ukutula, Entabeui and tested by RT-PCR, only one, from CCB was positive. Five animals from Cango were seropositive out of 32 serum samples tested. Fifteen animals from de Wildt tested seropositive from 49 samples collected in 2006. Of 57 animals tested from Africat in Namibia, one was RT-PCR+ for virus, one was seropositive, and one was both RT-PCR+ and seropositive. In summary, testing of nearly 150 samples collected in 2006/7 by RT-PCR (testing done in 2007) had a lower incidence of infection (16% compared to nearly 50% in previous study), with 24 cheetahs total showing evidence of current or past infection. Only three animals were actively shedding virus as evidenced by PCR. The testing for AfriCat was consistent with previous testing, showing a relatively low incidence of infection in this population. However, the incidence of infection from cheetahs at de Wildt was significantly lower than previous testing for unknown reasons. Possibilities include testing of different animals, fewer samples tested overall, or decrease in virus circulation. Management practices have not been significantly modified at this institution, so it is unlikely that management impacted the incidence. The samples from the additional locales had been collected from these institutions for the first time, thus no comparison could be made.
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Modeling of Asiatic Cheetah habitat suitability in Dareh-Anjir wildlife refuge in Yazd province

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) is a threatened species that it’s population and distribution have decreased during last decades. Dareh-Anjir wildlife refuge is one of the known habitats of the species, therefore, studying on cheetah habitat suitability in this area can provide proper to predict distribution and habitats of the species. Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) method and Biomapper software for habitat suitability modeling of this species by using presence point of the species were used.Data layers were provided as variables affect on presence of the species including slope, aspect, elevation, landforms, mean annual temperature, vegetation, water resources, development variables (such as villages and roads) and prey density. Results showed that 15 percent of the habitats of the wildlife refuge were suitable for cheetah. Based on habitat suitability layer cheetah prefer elevation ranged from 1200 to1800 meters above sea level and slope ranged from 10 to 30 percent. Prey density is one of the affected agents on presence of the species. High specialization in the model shows that cheetah depends on restricted range of environmental condition and has specialized act in its habitat.
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( This post was last modified: 08-08-2022, 02:07 AM by BigLion39 )

@BA0701


The 3rd out of 5  famous Tano Bora coalition in the Massai Mara,  named Leboo was killed a few days ago. Itintial reports were confused, said lions, etc.... Turned out a report from an official Mara vet team after autopsy said Spear through abdomen, close range slicing through vital organs killing Leboo very quickly. The Chief Top Warden of the Massai Mara confirms this. Here is a report.... 

https://www.k24tv.co.ke/news/tano-bora-c...ara-73728/


Will this ever stop
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(08-08-2022, 02:06 AM)BigLion39 Wrote: @BA0701


The 3rd out of 5  famous Tano Bora coalition in the Massai Mara,  named Leboo was killed a few days ago. Itintial reports were confused, said lions, etc.... Turned out a report from an official Mara vet team after autopsy said Spear through abdomen, close range slicing through vital organs killing Leboo very quickly. The Chief Top Warden of the Massai Mara confirms this. Here is a report.... 

https://www.k24tv.co.ke/news/tano-bora-c...ara-73728/


Will this ever stop

How sad to know the 3rd one was killed in this way!
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(08-08-2022, 02:06 AM)BigLion39 Wrote: @BA0701


The 3rd out of 5  famous Tano Bora coalition in the Massai Mara,  named Leboo was killed a few days ago. Itintial reports were confused, said lions, etc.... Turned out a report from an official Mara vet team after autopsy said Spear through abdomen, close range slicing through vital organs killing Leboo very quickly. The Chief Top Warden of the Massai Mara confirms this. Here is a report.... 

https://www.k24tv.co.ke/news/tano-bora-c...ara-73728/


Will this ever stop

Incredible that the government, who is the largest beneficiary from the existence of these animals, both local and federal, would permit this to continue. At this point, it is a pandemic of poaching, and nobody is interfering with it. Disgusting!
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Yes I can't find the words to describe this gross, disgusting behavior from these poachers. Its almost a daily/weekly event of some stupid cattle herder, hired by the actual Rangers and guides that video these gorgeous animals and bring it to our eyes, spearing these big Cats. Im sure here doing it to other animals as well. When will someone over there grow a pair a balls and put a stop to this. Screw tradition, screw its the way I make a living, screw all that. I am appalled.
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