Early Cheetah/Human Interactions
It was known as far back as 3000 B.C. with the ancient Egyptians that cheetahs could be useful hunting tools. These animals could be easily tamed and trained for hunting. Some Egyptian temples contain drawings of a man walking a cheetah by a leash. Cheetahs were instantly associated with royalty and elegance. The tradition of using cheetahs for hunting was passed on to ancient Persians and then carried to India.
The growing human population has a negative impact on cheetahs today. Over-hunting and habitat destruction have placed cheetahs at a high risk for extinction. They are being hunted and killed by farmers because they are thought to be a nuisance to livestock. Generally very few cheetah actually prey upon livestock. Cheetahs are also being poached for their expensive fur coat.
Cheetah generally don't associate with other animals. When a cheetah is stalking, a tall giraffe may warn other animals that a cheetah is near. Cheetahs are very timid and even the presence or sight of a lion or hyena will cause a cheetah to move away or stop hunting.
In rare instances cheetahs have been known to cooperatively hunt with other animals. Former professor and author of The Cheetah, Dr. Randall Eaton has observed cheetahs and jackals hunting together. A jackel pack came up to a cheetah then proceeded to a herd of impala. The impala became preoccupied by the jackals and got run down from behind by the cheetah. The cheetah then ate its share of the meal and gave the rest to the group of Jackals. In Nairobi Park the normal hunt to kill ratio for the cheetah was 7:1. With the jackals it was observed at 3.5 : 1.
A cheetahs speed and tameness has been early recognized by both ancient humans and animals.
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