Southeast African Cheetah | Fastest Land Mammal

The prominent cheetah subspecies in East and Southern Africa is the Southeast African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). The Southern African cheetah is found primarily in the Kalahari lowlands and deserts, the Okavango Delta savannahs, and the Transvaal grasslands of South Africa. Cheetahs are mostly found in farmlands in Namibia.

Physical Description of Southeast African Cheetah

Cheetahs are medium-sized cats. The total size of an adult male cheetah ranges from 168 to 200 cm (66 to 79 in) and from 162 to 213 cm (64 to 84 in) for females. At the shoulder, adult cheetahs stand 70 to 90 cm (28 to 35 in) tall. Males are slightly taller than females, with larger heads, wider incisors, and longer mandibles.

Cheetahs are famed for their black tear marks which act as anti-sun glare markings and black spots. A common mistake is that their spots are the same as the leopard. Leopards’ spots are called rosettes which are clear on the inside.

The Southeast African cheetah is adapted for running at high speed to catch it’s prey and eats quickly as it cannot fend of larger cats. Leopards are more strongly built so they can drag prey up trees.

Females’ head-and-body lengths range from 113 to 140 cm (44 to 55 in), with 59.5-to-73.0 cm (23.4-to-28.7 in) long tails, and weigh between 21.0 and 63.0 kg (46.3 and 138.9 lb); males’ head-and-body lengths range from 113 to 136 cm (44 to 54 in), with 60-to-84 cm (24-to-33 in) long tails, and (62.8 and 143.3 lb).

Habitat of Southeast African Cheetah

The Southeast African cheetah prefers grasslands, savannahs, scrub forests, and arid environments like deserts and semidesert steppes. Cheetahs can be found in open fields, where they chase and hunt herbivorous mammals like antelopes at high speeds. In South Africa, the cheetah prefers woodlands (especially in Kruger National Park), shrublands, high mountains, mountainous grasslands, and montane areas with abundant prey.

Map of Southeast African Cheetah
Map of Southeast African Cheetah

The Southeast African cheetah is the most common subspecies today, and it was once found across southern and central Africa, from South Africa to the southern Democratic Republic of the Congo (Katanga Province) and southern Tanzania. Its size has shrunk dramatically, occupying just 1,223,388 km2 (472,353 sq mi), or 22% of its original range.

Previously, fewer than 10,000 cheetahs were hunted in Namibian farmlands. Previously estimated at 2,000 individuals since the 1990s, Namibia now has over 3,500 cheetahs as of 2015.

Southeast African Cheetah - Tear Markings
Southeast African Cheetah – Tear Markings

Cheetahs live on Namibian farmlands in numbers ranging from 90 to 95 percent of the population; others can be found in the Kalahari Basin, the coastal deserts of Namib and Kaokoveld, and the country’s central to northeastern region. Namibian cheetahs are mostly found outside of protected areas, but they can also be found in Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary, Namib-Naukluft National Park, and Bwabwata National Park.

Fantastic Facts About Cheetahs

  • Less than 200 of the Southeast Africa cheetahs cousin, the Asiatic leopard are left in the wild.
  • Cheetahs purr and cannot roar more like domesticated cats
  • Cheetahs are diurnal meaning they hunt in the day
  • South East African cheetahs are described as a member of the big 5 hunting cats
  • South East African cheetahs were thought to be extinct in Angola but 2 were spotted in 2010 after the end of the civil war

Diet of Southeast African Cheetah

The cheetahs is a carnivorous mammal. It feeds on medium and large antelopes, as well as fast, small animals like Cape hares and rodents. Impala, kudu, puku, oribi, springbok, gemsbok, steenbok, wildebeest, warthog, red hartebeest, and other ungulates are its favorite prey. The oryx and nyala are also the cheetah’s preferred prey species.

Southeast African Cheetah
Southeast African cheetah

Reproduction of the Southeast African cheetah

Male cheetahs are gregarious and may congregate with other males. Males establish their territories by urinating on trees or termite mounds to mark their territory.

Females, on the other hand, are not sociable and do not establish a territory. They live alone and avoid each other. On their home ranges, they may live with their mothers, daughters, or sisters. The size of the female’s home range can be determined by the prey base.

Cheetahs have ranges as small as 34 km2 (13 sq mi) in southern African woodlands, but they have been observed in ranges of 1,500 km2 in some parts of Namibia (580 sq mi).

Female cheetahs can reproduce between the ages of 13 and 16, with sexual maturity occurring between the ages of 20 and 23 months. The gestation period will last anywhere from 90 to 95 days. Cub births are most common in Namibia from November to January, and in Zambia from November to March.

Female cheetahs hunt alone, with the exception that after the age of 5–6 weeks, cheetah cubs follow their mothers to learn how to hunt on their own. The mother leaves her cubs when they reach the age of 18 months, and the siblings stay together for a few months before the sisters leave; the brothers will remain together. After separating from their mother, male cubs can form alliances with other males.

Threats to Southeast African Cheetah

Due to poaching, habitat loss, and a lack of prey, the Southern cheetah is a vulnerable subspecies. In southern Africa, indiscriminate capture and removal of wild cheetahs continue to threaten the species’ survival, as it may reduce genetic diversity in the wild and they breed poorly in captivity. Inbreeding is also a threat to its survival. Cheetahs in Botswana are mostly threatened by habitat changes.

Hunting and range loss were both major threats to the cheetah. Cheetahs were hunted to extinction in South Africa during the early 1930s. As a result, it has lost the majority of its range, which is primarily in South Africa and Mozambique. The illegal pet trade is also a threat to this endangered feline.

Just a few hundred Southeast African cheetahs remain in Mozambique’s southern provinces. It also vanished from several areas of South Africa, remaining only in the country’s northern and northeastern regions.

Conservation of Southeast African Cheetah

Several cheetah conservation projects exist in African countries and Iran. The Southern cheetah, like the Asiatic cheetah, has received more attention than other subspecies.

Three cheetah subspecies are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN (three African subspecies threatened, Northwest African, and Asian subspecies in critical condition), as well as threatened by the US Endangered Species Act (Appendix I of CITES) (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).

ICUN Red Flag Status
ICUN Red Flag Status

The cheetah conservation fund is an international organisation that raises awareness and funds to help save the cheetah. Their website can be seen at

In another conservation effort, Sarah Tompkins and her husband purchased land in the malaria-free wilderness of South Africa’s Great Karoo twenty-four years ago. They then built and opened the award-winning Samara Private Game Reserve, a luxury reserve that allows guests to experience African wildlife.

Sarah Tompkins brought back the cheetah, which had not been seen in the area in 125 years, in order to help preserve the endangered South African cheetah population (of which there are only about 1,000 left). She also reintroduced elephants, lions, black and white rhinos, and other wildlife.

Q & A About Southeast African cheetah

How many Cheetahs are present in South Africa?

In 2013, the estimated population of cheetahs in South Africa was between 1,200 and 1,300. While it has been estimated that 1,500 adult cheetahs live in South Africa since 2016, the Endangered Wildlife Trust has stated that the total population in South Africa alone in 2017 ranges between 1,166 and 1,742 cheetahs.

What is the fastest speed recorded of a cheetah?

The fastest speed of a cheetah was filmed in 2012 when a female cheetah from Cincinnati Zoo, ran the 100 m in 5.95 seconds at a top speed of 61 mph.

Can a cheetah run 70mph?

It is believed cheetahs can reach speeds of 70 mph

Where can you find cheetahs in South Africa?

Cheetahs can be found in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, a few other national parks, provincial reserves, and private game reserves. Outside of these areas, they are extremely rare. The Kruger National Park has the highest concentration of Cheetahs in South Africa.

What order do Southeast African cheetahs belong in?

Southeast African cheetahs belong in the order: carnivora

What is the genus of the Southeast African cheetah?

the genus of the Southeast African cheetah, is Acinonyx

Cheetahs Seen In Angola For The First Time in 30 Years

Cheetahs Seen in Angola after The Civil War

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