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Data from: Living on the edge: multiscale habitat selection by cheetahs in a human-wildlife landscape

Cite this dataset

Klaassen, Britt; Broekhuis, Femke (2019). Data from: Living on the edge: multiscale habitat selection by cheetahs in a human-wildlife landscape [Dataset]. Dryad.


Animals select habitats that will ultimately optimise their fitness through access to favourable resources, such as food, mates, and breeding sites. However, access to these resources may be limited by bottom-up effects, such as availability, and top-down effects such as risk avoidance and competition, including that with humans. Competition between wildlife and people over resources, specifically over space, has played a significant role in the worldwide decrease of large carnivores. The goal of this study was to determine the habitat selection of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in a human-wildlife landscape at multiple spatial scales. Cheetahs are a wide-ranging, large carnivore, whose significant decline is largely attributed to habitat loss and fragmentation. It is believed that 77% of the global cheetah population ranges outside protected areas, yet little is known about cheetahs’ resource use in areas where they co-occur with people. The selection, or avoidance, of three anthropogenic variables (human footprint density, distance to main roads and wildlife areas) and five environmental variables (open habitat, semi-closed habitat, edge density, patch density and slope), at multiple spatial scales, was determined by analysing collar data from six cheetahs. Cheetahs selected variables at different scales; anthropogenic variables were selected at broader scales (720m - 1440m) than environmental variables (90m-180m), suggesting that anthropogenic pressures affect habitat selection at a home-range level, whilst environmental variables influence site-level habitat selection. Cheetah presence was best explained by human presence, wildlife areas, semi-closed habitat, edge density and slope. Cheetahs showed avoidance for humans and steep slopes and selected for wildlife areas and areas with high proportions of semi-closed habitat and edge density. Understanding a species’ resource requirements, and how these might be affected by humans, is crucial for conservation. Using a multiscale approach, we provide new insights into the habitat selection of a large carnivore living in a human-wildlife landscape.

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Maasai Mara