Using camera-traps to test the efficacy of different bait types in luring cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in Kenya, Africa

Erica Hermsen
Peter Palmiotto, PhD
Department of Environmental Studies
Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) populations (<1,500) in Kenya have been extirpated from 25% of their range since the 1970's. In order to develop sufficient conservation measures for cheetahs, population characteristics such as home range, demographics, and genetic health must be understood. Capturing live cheetahs for biomedical sampling and radio-collaring is the most reliable method for obtaining such information. Over the last decade, Action for Cheetahs in Kenya (ACK) has been working to capture cheetahs in Kenya to obtain biological samples and secure radio-collars, but have had limited success. Therefore, in order to increase the success rate of capturing cheetahs, a variety of bait types (brand-name perfume, laboratory prepared custom-made perfume, live goat, predator decoy, robotic goat, and soiled cheetah bedding) were analyzed using camera-trap stations. Out of all six bait types, the robotic goat showed the highest potential in luring cheetahs to traps. The live goat proved to have the least potential in luring cheetahs due to disturbance of other carnivores. Information gleaned from this research was
provided to ACK and the Kenya Wildlife Service for use in capturing cheetahs for conservation research.