• Florian Weise

Multi-Purpose Trees: Cheetah Marking Posts or Lion Playgrounds?

In order to better understand the local carnivore populations, ORC recently placed camera traps at several cheetah marking trees on Ongava. Resident cheetahs regularly visit these trees, especially the males, where they leave scent marks to advertise their social status, demarcate their home range, and also to communicate with each other. The cameras already recorded one territorial male that is uniquely identifiable by his spot patterns, the long black tail tip and the unusually thick black tear marks on his face. But the cameras also revealed some imminent danger for the cheetahs. Lions readily kill cheetahs when the opportunity arises, so any close encounters at the marking trees could turn out fatal for the world’s fastest land animal. Just as the cheetahs, the lions climb the trees, they sharpen their claws by scratching the bark, but the lions did not scent mark. Instead, the stunning pictures show young lions playing at these trees during the colder hours of the day.