Will fastest cat breed with speed? Cheetahs are not monogamous, but promiscuous

People have struggled to breed cheetahs for hundreds of years. The cats slinked through the ochre palaces of the Mughal Empire some 500 years ago as captive hunting pets, said a journal by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

Abhishek Awasthi September 17, 2022 17:00:59 IST
Will fastest cat breed with speed? Cheetahs are not monogamous, but promiscuous

Kuno National park in MP is the new home for eight African Cheetah.

New Delhi: History was made Saturday when PM Narendra Modi on his 72nd birthday gave India eight cheetahs—three males and five females—brought in from Namibia and released in Kuno National Park as part of World’s first intercontinental movement of large carnivores. Also, India got cheetahs to roam its wilds after 1952 when they went extinct.

But, why three males and five females? The ratio is part of a well-thought out strategy, say wildlife experts, aimed at maximising the chances of reproduction of the felines.

Anand Arya, a renowned wildlife researcher, told Firstpost that the number of male cheetahs has been kept less than females possibly since both, female and male cheetahs, have a tendency to mate with more than one partner.
They are not monogamous; they are polyamorous.

“Cheetahs are not monogamous; unlike most birds and a few animals, both female and male cheetah have a tendency to mate with more than one partner,” he said, adding that Cheetahs don’t breed well in captivity.

Due to the chronic stress captive cheetahs suffer. Their distinct breeding habits are hard to replicate in a captive environment; their reproduction rate is significantly lower than other big cats in captivity.

As per researches, female cheetah marks her territory in the jungle and the male picks up the scent of their urine from bushes, trees and rocks. The male then calls out to the female in a series of yelps; the female responds with yelps of her own as the male approaches.

“Mating may occur immediately and copulation lasts less than a minute. They may stay together for a few days and mate several more times during this period—an average of 3 to 5 times per day—before they part ways,” Arya said.

However, the revival of cheetah in India will not be as easy as it may look to some people, Arya cautioned, adding that cheetahs have sperm motility and increased infant mortality.

“Knowing the genetic background of cheetahs, zoos often try to choose the mating pairs in order to increase the genetic diversity, but due to the high infant mortality the possibility of producing an offspring is harder,” he said. Researchers are trying to come up with new methods, including artificial insemination, to make the fastest cat breed with speed in different parts of the world.

As per reports, people have struggled to breed cheetahs for hundreds of years. The cats slinked through the ochre palaces of the Mughal Empire some 500 years ago as captive hunting pets, said a journal by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The journal says that though the artificial insemination is being tried on cheetahs since 1992, it has only worked once or twice.

“Unknown prerequisites for pregnancy is probably the reason why artificial insemination hasn’t worked since 2003 in cheetahs,” says the PNAS journal.

Arya, however, says that the officials should trust the natural process and work in order to help the cheetahs acclimatise in the Indian environment. “They might also have test them for diseases regularly and have to save them for predators since there is a four-lane highway runs through the national park,” he said.

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