Famine in Somalia : Wait for food and water

Sara Alisio and her one-month old child Molide Kelbi wait for food and water in the Warder district in the Somali region of Ethiopia.

The "Jungle", a squalid sprawling camp in Calais

Aerial view of a makeshift camp as containers (rear) are put into place to house several hundred migrants living in what is known as the “Jungle”, a squalid sprawling camp in Calais, northern France. 

“Ebola free” campaign in the city of Freetown, Sierra Leone

People pass a banner reading “STOP EBOLA” part of Sierra Leone’s “Ebola free” campaign in the city of Freetown, Sierra Leone. A body has tested positive for Ebola in Sierra Leone, an official said Friday, the day after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak over in West Africa.  

20m in West Africa at risk of food crisis

THE World Food Programme has warned that 20 million people across West Africa are still at risk of a food crisis. Things can be worse between August and December. Dried weather, lack of rains, poor harvests, lack of food and increased food prices are worsening the situation for poor people.
The Sahel region of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger are most affected. Drought is still considered worst in the last 60 years owing to lack of rains and water and people have lost everything and now migrating to other countries. Somalia and Kenya are also worst affected by recent drought and things are going from bad to worse every day. Already 0.4 million people have migrated from Somalia to Kenya and are now living in camps without any necessities of lives.
Owing to the worst peace situation and continued fighting between government and Al Shabab fighters aid agencies are not able to reach and provide and help to drought-affected people, specially in Somalia. Women and children are worst affected from recent drought and every one child out of five is facing risk of malnutrition and death. Some people walked 400km in search of food and water.
According to the World Food Programme, after the worst drought in 60 years the world response is still very slow and things are going from bad to worse every day due to lack of funds as aid agencies are not able to reach drought-affected areas. Developed countries can spend millions of dollars against unseen enemies in different parts of the world but can’t provide relief to the suffering people. The UN and G8 are also silent and doing nothing to provide any relief to the dying people.

The Nile River

Beginning of the Blue Nile River by its outlet...
Beginning of the Blue Nile River by its outlet from Lake Tana (Amhara Region, Ethiopia).
The Nile (Arabic: النيل, an-Nīl; Ancient Egyptian: Iteru & Ḥ’pī; Coptic Egyptian: ⲫⲓⲁⲣⲱ, P(h)iaro; Amharic: ዓባይ?, ʿAbbai) is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world.[3] It is 6,650 km (4,130 miles) long. The Nile is an “international” river as its water resources are shared by eleven countries, namely, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt.[4] In particular, the Nile River provides the primary water resource and so it is the life artery for its downstream countries such as Egypt and Sudan.[5]

The Nile has two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile. The White Nile is longer and rises in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, with the most distant source still undetermined but located in either Rwanda or Burundi. It flows north through Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Uganda and South Sudan. The Blue Nile is the source of most of the water and fertile soil. It begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia at

12°02′09″N 037°15′53″E / 12.03583°N 37.26472°E / 12.03583; 37.26472 and flows into Sudan from the southeast. The two rivers meet near the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.
The northern section of the river flows almost entirely through desert, from Sudan into Egypt, a country whose civilization has depended on the river since ancient times. Most of the population and cities of Egypt lie along those parts of the Nile valley north of Aswan, and nearly all the cultural and historical sites of Ancient Egypt are found along riverbanks. The Nile ends in a large delta that empties into the Mediterranean Sea.
Above Khartoum the Nile is also known as the White Nile, a term also used in a limited sense to describe the section between Lake No and Khartoum. At Khartoum the river is joined by the Blue Nile. The White Nile starts in equatorial East Africa, and the Blue Nile begins in Ethiopia. Both branches are on the western flanks of the East African Rift.
The drainage basin of the Nile covers 3,254,555 square kilometres (1,256,591 sq mi), about 10% of the area of Africa.[9] The Nile basin is complex, and because of this, the discharge at any given point along the mainstem depends on many factors including weather, diversions, evaporation and evapotranspiration, and groundwater flow.


The source of the Nile is sometimes considered to be Lake Victoria, but the lake has feeder rivers of considerable size. The Kagera River, which flows into Lake Victoria near the Tanzanian town of Bukoba, is the longest feeder, although sources do not agree on which is the longest tributary of the Kagera and hence the most distant source of the Nile itself.[10] It is either the Ruvyironza, which emerges in Bururi Province, Burundi,[11] or the Nyabarongo, which flows from Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda.[12] The two feeder rivers meet near Rusumo Falls on the Rwanda-Tanzania border.
A recent exploration party[13] went to a place described as the source of the Rukarara tributary,[14] and by hacking a path up steep jungle-choked mountain slopes in the Nyungwe forest found (in the dry season) an appreciable incoming surface flow for many miles upstream, and found a new source, giving the Nile a length of 4199 miles (6758 kilometers)
Lost headwaters
Formerly Lake Tanganyika drained northwards along the African Rift Valley into the White Nile, making the Nile about 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) longer, until it was blocked in Miocene times by the bulk of the Virunga Volcanoes.

In Uganda

The Nile leaves Lake Victoria at Ripon Falls near Jinja, Uganda, as the Victoria Nile. It flows for approximately 500 kilometres (300 mi) farther, through Lake Kyoga, until it reaches Lake Albert. After leaving Lake Albert, the river is known as the Albert Nile.

In South Sudan

It then flows into South Sudan, where it is known as the Bahr al Jabal (“Sea of the Mountain”, possibly from Nahr al Jabal, “River of the Mountain”). The Bahr al Ghazal, itself 716 kilometres (445 mi) long, joins the Bahr al Jabal at a small lagoon called Lake No, after which the Nile becomes known as the Bahr al Abyad, or the White Nile, from the whitish clay suspended in its waters. When the Nile floods it leaves a rich silty deposit which fertilizes the soil. The Nile no longer floods in Egypt since the completion of the Aswan Dam in 1970. An anabranch river, the Bahr el Zeraf, flows out of the Nile’s Bahr al Jabal section and rejoins the White Nile.
Below Renk the White Nile enters Sudan, it flows north to Khartoum and meets the Blue Nile.
The course of the Nile in Sudan is distinctive. It flows over six groups of cataracts, from the first at Aswan to the sixth at Sabaloka (just north of Khartoum) and then turns to flow southward before again returning to flow north. This is called the Great Bend of the Nile.
In the north of Sudan the river enters Lake Nasser (known in Sudan as Lake Nubia), the larger part of which is in Egypt.

In Egypt

Below the Aswan High Dam, at the northern limit of Lake Nasser, the Nile resumes its historic course.
North of Cairo, the Nile splits into two branches (or distributaries) that feed the Mediterranean: the Rosetta Branch to the west and the Damietta to the east, forming the Nile Delta.


Atbara River

Below the confluence with the Blue Nile the only major tributary is the Atbara River, roughly halfway to the sea, which originates in Ethiopia north of Lake Tana, and is around 800 kilometres (500 mi) long. The Atbara flows only while there is rain in Ethiopia and dries very rapidly. During the dry period of January to June, it typically dries up. It joins the Nile approximately 300 kilometres (200 mi) north of Khartoum.
Role in the founding of Egyptian civilization
The Greek historian Herodotus wrote that “Egypt was the gift of the Nile”. An unending source of sustenance, it provided a crucial role in the development of Egyptian civilization. Silt deposits from the Nile made the surrounding land fertile because the river overflowed its banks annually. The Ancient Egyptians cultivated and traded wheat, flax, papyrus and other crops around the Nile. Wheat was a crucial crop in the famine-plagued Middle East. This trading system secured Egypt’s diplomatic relationships with other countries, and contributed to economic stability. Far-reaching trade has been carried on along the Nile since ancient times.
The Ishango bone is probably an early tally stick. It has been suggested that this shows prime numbers and multiplication, but this is disputed. In the book How Mathematics Happened: The First 50,000 Years, Peter Rudman argues that the development of the concept of prime numbers could only have come about after the concept of division, which he dates to after 10,000 BC, with prime numbers probably not being understood until about 500 BC. He also writes that “no attempt has been made to explain why a tally of something should exhibit multiples of two, prime numbers between 10 and 20, and some numbers that are almost multiples of 10.”[26] It was discovered along the headwaters of the Nile (near Lake Edward, in northeastern Congo) and was carbon-dated to 20,000 BC.
Water buffalo were introduced from Asia, and Assyrians introduced camels in the 7th century BC.
These animals were killed for meat, and were domesticated and used for ploughing—or in the camels’ case, carriage. Water was vital to both people and livestock. The Nile was also a convenient and efficient means of transportation for people and goods. The Nile was an important part of ancient Egyptian spiritual life. Hapy was the god of the annual floods, and both he and the pharaoh were thought to control the flooding. The Nile was considered to be a causeway from life to death and the afterlife. The east was thought of as a place of birth and growth, and the west was considered the place of death, as the god Ra, the Sun, underwent birth, death, and resurrection each day as he crossed the sky. Thus, all tombs were west of the Nile, because the Egyptians believed that in order to enter the afterlife, they had to be buried on the side that symbolized death.
As the Nile was such an important factor in Egyptian life, the ancient calendar was even based on the 3 cycles of the Nile. These seasons, each consisting of four months of thirty days each, were called Akhet, Peret, and Shemu. Akhet, which means inundation, was the time of the year when the Nile flooded, leaving several layers of fertile soil behind, aiding in agricultural growth.[27]
Peret was the growing season, and Shemu, the last season, was the harvest season when there were no rains.[27]


Enhanced by Zemanta



Home of the prestigious Koranic Sankore University and other madrasas, Timbuktu was an intellectual and spiritual capital and a centre for the propagation of Islam throughout Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its three great mosques, Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia, recall Timbuktu’s golden age. Although continuously restored, these monuments are today under threat from desertification.
Timbuktu © UNESCO
Brief synthesis
Located at the gateway to the Sahara desert, within the confines of the fertile zone of the Sudan  and in an exceptionally  propitious site near to the river, Timbuktu is one of the cities of Africa whose name is the most heavily charged with history.
Founded in the 5th century, the economic and cultural apogee of Timbuktu came about during the15th and 16th centuries. It was an important centre for the diffusion of Islamic culture with the University of Sankore, with 180 Koranic schools and 25,000 students. It was also a crossroads and an important market place where the trading of manuscripts was negotiated,  and salt from Teghaza in the north, gold was sold, and cattle and grain from the south.
The Djingareyber Mosque, the initial construction of which dates back to Sultan Kankan Moussa, returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, was rebuilt and enlarged between 1570 and 1583 by the Imam Al Aqib, the Qadi of Timbuktu, who added all the southern part and the wall surrounding the cemetery located to the west. The central minaret dominates the city and is one of the most visible landmarks of the urban landscape of Timbuktu.
Built in the 14th century, the Sankore Mosque was, like the Djingareyber Mosque, restored by the Imam Al Aqib between 1578 and 1582. He had the sanctuary demolished and rebuilt according to the dimensions of the Kaaba of the Mecca.
The Sidi Yahia Mosque, to the south of the Sankore Mosque, was built around 1400 by the marabout Sheik El Moktar Hamalla in anticipation of a holy man who appeared forty years later in the person of Cherif Sidi Yahia, who was then chosen as Imam. The mosque was restored in 1577-1578 by the Imam Al Aqib.
The three big Mosques of Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia, sixteen mausoleums and holy public places, still bear witness to this prestigious past. The mosques are exceptional examples of earthen architecture and of traditional maintenance techniques, which continue to the present time.
Criterion (ii): The mosques and holy places of Timbuktu have played an essential role in the spread of Islam in Africa at an early period.
Criterion (iv): The three great mosques of Timbuktu, restored by the Qadi Al Aqib in the 16th century, bear witness to the golden age of the intellectual and spiritual capital at the end of the Askia dynasty.
Criterion (v): The three mosques and mausoleums are outstanding witnesses to the urban establishment of Timbuktu, its important role of commercial, spiritual and cultural centre on the southern trans-Saharan trading route, and its traditional characteristic construction techniques. Their environment has now become very vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.
The three mosques and the sixteen mausoleums comprising the property are a cliché of the former great city of Timbuktu that, in the 16th century, numbered 100,000 inhabitants. The vestiges of urban fabric are essential for their context. However, as indicated at the time of inscription of the property, rampant urbanization which is rife in Timbuktu, as in Djenne, is particularly threatening to the architecture, and the large public squares and markets. Contemporary structures have made irretrievable breaches in the original parcelling and obviously exceed the scale of the traditional buildings. This process is ongoing and most recently a new very large institute was built on one of the public squares, compromising the integrity of the Sankore Mosque. Urban development pressures, associated with the lack of maintenance and flooding, resulting from the heavy rains, threaten the coherence and integrity of the urban fabric and its relation to the property.
The three mosques are stable but the mausoleums require maintenance, as they are fragile and vulnerable in the face of irreversible changes in the climate and urban fabric.
The three mosques retain their value in architectural terms, traditional construction techniques associated to present-day maintenance, and their use. However, the Sankore Mosque has lost a part of the public square that was associated with it following the construction of the new Ahmed Baba Centre. Following this construction, the status of the mosque in the urban context and part of its signification have been compromised and require review and reconsideration.
Overall, because of the threat from the fundamental changes to the traditional architecture and the vestiges of the old city, the mosques and mausoleums risk losing their capacity to dominate their environment and to stand as witnesses to the once prestigious past of Timbuktu.
Protection and management requirements
The site of Timbuktu has three fundamental management tools: a Revitalization and Safeguarding Plan of the Old Town (2005), and a Strategic Sanitary Plan (2005), that are being implemented despite certain difficulties; and a Conservation and Management Plan (2006-2010) is being implemented and which shall be reassessed shortly.
The management system of the property is globally appropriate as its legal protection is jointly assured by the community of Timbuktu through management committees of the mosques, the cultural Mission of Timbuktu and the Management and Conservation Committee of the Old Town of Timbuktu. This mechanism is strengthened by two practical functioning modalities, initiated in consultation with the World Heritage Centre: the Town Planning Regulation and the Conservation Manual. The specific long-term objectives are the extension of the buffer zone by approximately 500 m to assure the protection of the inscribed property ; the development of the historic square of Sankore to integrate corrective measures proposed by the Committee at its 33rd session and by the reactive monitoring mission of March 2010 ; the extension of the inscribed property to include the entire Timbuktu Medina ; the development of an integrated conservation and sustainable and harmonious management project for the site, in the wider framework of development of the urban commune and in close cooperation with the elected members of the Territorial Communities of Timbuktu and the development partners ; the active conservation of the mausoleums.

Long Description

The three great mosques of Timbuktu, restored by the Qadi Al Aqib in the 16th century, bear witness to the golden age of the intellectual and spiritual capital at the end of the Askia dynasty. They played an essential part in the spread of Islam in Africa at an early period.
Timbuktu is thought to have been founded towards the end of the 5th century of the Hegira by a group of Imakcharen Tuaregs who, having wandered 250 km south of their base, established a temporary camp guarded by an old woman, Buktu. Gradually, Tim-Buktu (the place of Buktu) became a small sedentary village at the crossroads of several trade routes. Quickly converted to Islam (the two great mosques of Djingareyber and Sankore appeared during the Mandingue period), the market city of Timbuktu reached its apex under the reign of the Askia (1493-1591). It then became an important centre of Koranic culture with the University of Sankore and numerous schools attended, it is said, by some 25,000 students. Scholars, engineers and architects from various regions in Africa rubbed shoulders with wise men and marabouts in this intellectual and religious centre. Early on, Timbuktu attracted travellers from far-away countries.
Although the mosques of El-Hena, Kalidi and Algoudour Djingareye have been destroyed, three essential monuments – the mosques of Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia – fortunately still stand as testimony to the grandeur of Timbuktu.
The Mosque of Djingareyber was built by the sultan Kankan Moussa after his return in 1325 from a pilgrimage to Mecca. Between 1570 and 1583 the Qadi of Timbuktu, Imam Al Aqib, had it reconstructed and enlarged, adding the whole southern part and the wall enclosing the graveyard situated to the west. The central minaret dominates the town and is the most visible landmark of the urban landscape. A smaller minaret on the eastern facade completes the profile of the Great Mosque which has three inner courtyards.
Like Djingareyber, the Mosque of Sankore, built during the Mandingue period, was restored by the Imam Al Aqib between 1578 and 1582. He had the sanctuary demolished and rebuilt according to the measurements of the Kaaba at Mecca, which he had taken with a rope during his pilgrimage.
The Mosque of Sidi Yahia, south of Sankore, was probably built around 1400 by the marabout Sheikh El Moktar Hamalla in anticipation of a holy man who appeared 40 years later in the person of Cherif Sidi Yahia, who was then chosen as Imam. It was restored in 1577-78 by the Imam Al Aqib. Apart from the mosques, the World Heritage site comprises 16 cemeteries and mausolea, essential elements in a religious system as, according to popular belief; they constitute a rampart that shields the city from all misfortune. The most ancient mausoleum is that of Sheikh Abul Kassim Attouaty, who died in year 936 of the Hegira (1529) and was buried 150 m west of the city with 50 ulemas and holy persons from Touat. Equally noteworthy and from the same general period are the graves of the scholar Sidi Mahmoudou, who died in year 955 of the Hegira (1547) and of Qadi Al Aqfb, the restorer of mosques, who died in year 991 of the Hegira (1583).


Enhanced by Zemanta

Beautiful dangerous African snakes

All about Beautiful Snakes

The African Rock Python is native to the Sub Saharan Africa. The python has seven species and African rock python is one of them. They are non venomous snakes and are the largest snakes in Africa. The name Python Sebae was derived from the Greek mythology, which refers to a huge serpent.
 Many animals such as the African elephant are always in contact with these snakes while  the king of the jungle is scared by many of these on their daily rounds looking for food while some meet with the biggest African hippos while fetching a drinkor water in the nearby rives and lakes which are always infested with the great Nile crocodiles 

African Rock Python Scientific Name

The scientific name for the African Rock Python is Python Sebae.

African Rock Python Classification

African Rock Python is amongst the seven species of python. They have two sub-species of African Rock Python, one of which are found in the Southern Africa, Namibia Angola  which are also called Python Sebae Natalis and the other types are found in the Western and Central parts of Africa in countries such as Zaire, Ghana, Siera Leon, Nigeria  The African Rock Python snake found in the Central and Western Africa was identified by a German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin in the year 1788. The Python Sebae Natalis found on the southern Africa snakes were identified by the father of South African Zoology, Sir Andrew Smith in 1833.

African Rock Python snake Description

The African rock python is the  largest snake in Africa and the third largest snake in the world. The African rock python is a very special snake because of its  enormous size and bulkiness. These huge snakes can weigh up to 135kgs. An average male African Rock Python measures around 16 feet however the largest snake that has been confirmed are around 20 feet long. The female snakes are larger than the males. However they vary according to their natural habitat. It is amazing to not that in areas where there is a  higher population the size of the African rock python has been smaller in size  as compared to areas where human habitat is less the African Rock Python snake is much bigger in size.

African Rock Python snakes

The African rock python snake has a very thick body with blotches which are joined like irregular stripes and ultimately fade to white underneath. Their body color varies between brown, chestnut to olive. The African rock python have a triangular dark arrow head shaped head. These dangerous beautiful snakes  have a triangular mark below their eyes. Smooth and dry to touch, their scales are small and smooth. The African Rock Python have these heat sensitive pits around their lips which help them to detect warm blooded preys.

African Rock Python snake Habitat

The African Rock Python snakes are usually found on the open savanna, grassland, rocky area, forest and semi deserts type of habitat. They are dependent on water often found near the water bodies like lakes, swamps and marshy areas, they become dormant during the dry season. They occupy the abandoned ant bear burrows or under the dense pile of driftwood.

African Rock Python Geographical Distribution

The African Python snakes is found throughout the Sub-Saharan Africa in countries. They are found from Guinea and Senegal on the western coast of Africa, spreading across the central Africa and also towards the east coast of Ethiopia, Southern Somalia, towards Kenya and northern Tanzania. African Rock Python were found at Florida Everglades in the year 2009.

African Rock Python Reproduction

African Rock Python snake becomes sexually active at 3 to 5 years old. They reproduce during the spring. They lay about 20 to 100 eggs. The incubation period last for around 2 to 3 months during which the female snakes guard their eggs aggressively against any predators. The length of the hatchlings is around 18 to 24 inches.

African Rock Python Life Span

African Rock Python can live up to 12 years in the  wild however they can live up to 30 years in captivity.

African Rock Python Diet

The African Rock Python snakes are carnivorous and non venomous; therefore they attack their prey by coiling around their prey and constrict them. The being attacked dies due to cardiac arrest. These dangerous snakes always hold a tight grip and tighten it every time the prey breathes out. The African rock python snakes  swallow the entire prey and if the prey is big enough they can go without eating for almost a year. These dangerous beautiful snakes can swallow up to 60 kilo grams of lifeless prey. Since these snakes  upper and lower jaws are attached together and their ligament stretches they have the ability to swallow preys bigger than themselves. They have strong acids inside their stomach which helps them to digest their food.

The African Rock Python feeds on animals such as rodents, small and medium antelopes, monkeys, domestic pigs, lizards, dogs, goats, crocodiles and at times even fishes. People have also been attacked and eaten by these African rock python snakes. While many of the snake attacks are not reported, many people have gone missing due to such snake attacks.

African Rock Python Predation

The African rock Python snake does not have many predators. While  few people would prefer different kind of animals for their meat. A few tribes in Africa would find such snakes as a source of meat to supplement their diet while out in the jungle as well. with many of the African farmers loosing their cattle sheep and goats due to snake attacks, these great snakes of Africa come to clash with humans and hence as a result many of the African rock python species are on the verge of extinction.  Humans are their main predators and in some cases they might be a prey to hyenas or the African wild dogs during their digestion period.

African Rock Python Photo

African Rock Python Interesting Facts

African Rock Python are available at exotic pet shops. Their prices vary according to the color of their skin and their temperament. They can be breed in captivity however are not meant for beginners. They are large and aggressive especially when they are hungry or when they guard their eggs.
Their species and taxonomy has been described differently by various authors.
African Rock Pythons are not endangered species but are listed as the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) appendix 2 species as their skin are in demand for making leather, belts and bags. Exporting them is restricted.
During the breeding season both the sexes fast and the female African Rock Python continues the fast till the eggs are hatched.
The hatchlings have to fend for themselves.
African Rock Pythons feeds only once or twice a month and if their prey is big enough they can go without food for almost a year.
African Rock Python Florida

Burmese Python had been thriving in Florida where they don’t have many invasive species. Since 2002 six African Rock Pythons, were located on the loose in Florida. This was a matter of great concern as some of the scientist feared that the African Rock Python would breed with the Burmese Python and the out spring would be a more aggressive species of super snake. It would not only hamper the ecosystem but would also be dangerous for families with small children.

African Rock Python and its Negative Economic Importance for Humans

African Rock Python have known to attack livestock and pets of human beings. They feed on dogs, goats and cattle which are important source of livelihood of the local residents.

There are reports of the African Rock Python attacking human beings too but they usually do not attack unless they are provoked. They can cause threat to families with small children.

African Python and its Positive Economic Importance for Humans

The skin of the African Rock Python is highly desired to make leather, bags, belts etc. If they are born in captivation then they can also be kept as pets, however the python caught wild can be very aggressive and unsafe to keep as pets.

African Rock Python Conservation Status

African Rock Python conservation is not a matter of very big concern however they are no longer widespread like the earlier times. The reason for their decline is mainly due to hunting for their skin or meat. They are mainly restricted to secluded areas, hunting reserves and parks. They are listed as on appendix 2 of CITES (Conservation on International Trade of Endangered Species) and hence has been legally protected especially in areas where their species are vulnerable and declining.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Dangerous Cheetahs of Africa

The cheetah 

Cheetah (acinonyx jubatus) is the fastests animals in the big cat  family (felidae) most cheetahs are found in Africa and the middle east  with their stilth and power they can stalk their prey for long distances.Upon catching their prey they tend to hide it on top trees away from other animals.
The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world. They can reach a top speed of around 113 km per hour.
A cheetah can accelerate from 0 to 113 km in just a few seconds.
Cheetahs are extremely fast however they tire quickly and can only keep up their top speed for a few minutes before they are too tired to continue.
Cheetahs are smaller than other members of the big cat family, weighing only 45 – 60 kilograms.
One way to always recognise a cheetah is by the long, black lines which run from the inside of each eye to the mouth. These are usually called “tear lines” and scientists believe they help protect the cheetah’s eyes from the harsh sun and help them to see long distances.
Cheetahs are the only big cat that cannot roar. The can purr though and usually purr most loudly when they are grooming or sitting near other cheetahs.
While lions and leopards usually do their hunting at night, cheetahs hunt for food during the day.
A cheetah has amazing eyesight during the day and can spot prey from 5 km away.
Cheetahs cannot climb trees and have poor night vision.
With their light body weight and blunt claws, cheetahs are not well designed to protect themselves or their prey. When a larger or more aggressive animal approaches a cheetah in the wild, it will give up its catch to avoid a fight.
Cheetahs only need to drink once every three to four days.

Africa’s spotted sprinter
Long and lanky, cheetahs are the sprinters of the cat world. Their bodies are uniquely designed to run very fast for fairly short distances, allowing them to catch prey that other big cats can’t get.
Run like the wind
The cheetahs’ ability to run starts with their flexible spine, which allows their front legs to stretch far forward on each stride. While running, they cover 20 to 22 feet (6 to 6.7 meters) in one stride, about the same distance as a racehorse. But cheetahs are so much faster—the fastest racehorse runs 43 miles per hour (69 kilometers per hour), while cheetahs can run at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour (112 kilometers per hour). Cheetahs are off the ground more than half of their running time! Their claws are hard and sharp like cleats, giving them great traction when they run.
Chasing prey is hard on a cheetah. Once caught, a cheetah holds its prey with a strangling bite to the neck. The cheetah is panting intensely, and its body temperature can reach as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius). It takes 20 minutes for its breathing and temperature to return to normal, the same time it takes for the prey to suffocate. Cheetahs have smaller teeth and larger nasal passages than other big cats, which may be an adaptation that allows them to take in more air during the recovery period after a sprint.
A quick meal
Once they’ve recovered, cheetahs must eat quickly, as they can be driven off by leopards, lions, or hyenas. Cheetahs aren’t strong enough to hide or guard their catch, so they have only one chance to eat their meal. They must kill more often, expending more energy than other big cats. They eat the meat (not usually the skin or bones) of antelope, birds, rabbits, porcupines, and ostriches. At the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the cheetahs are fed carnivore diet.
Do you hear what I hear?
Cheetahs are quite vocal, making a unique, bird-like sound called a “chirrup” when they’re excited. Mothers use the same sound to call their cubs. They also purr, growl, snarl, hiss, cough, moan, and bleat, but cheetahs cannot roar like lions or tigers do. Researchers have learned that, during mating season, cheetahs make a unique sound called a “stutter bark.”
Social life on the savanna

Cheetahs are solitary and peaceable except at breeding time, when males fight over females and have been known to kill each other. Cheetahs hunt alone and don’t have any of the group behaviors that lions do. Cubs live with their mothers for about 18 months. Littermates will stay together for about six to eight more months, sharing a territory. Then the females head off to live on their own, while the males stay together in small groups until they are mature.

Challenges face the magnificent cheetah
Cheetahs are endangered for a number of reasons. Genetic problems, leading to severe inbreeding, occurred long before humans began impacting cheetah habitat. Cheetahs hunt by day, which means their daily routine can be affected by tourists taking safari rides into cheetah habitat. Their habitat is open savanna, the most likely areas to be occupied by humans. There are around 12,000 cheetahs left, down from as many as 100,000 just 100 years ago. Ranchers sometimes shoot them because the cats feed on livestock.
Hope for cheetahs
Wildlife parks in Africa help protect some of the cheetahs as their habitat shrinks. Captive propagation at zoos will play an important role for keeping cheetahs in the world. The San DiegoZoo Safari Park has been working to solve the unique problems that cheetahs have breeding in captivity. We’ve learned that separating males and females until mating season, and sometimes using hormones for the females, can increase the chances for successful breeding and birth.
What you can do
You can join conservation organizations that protect big cats and African habitat, including the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, and Africats. You can encourage people not to wear fur coats. While it’s hard for Americans to help cheetahs directly, when you make your voice heard on environmental issues, you can help the Earth as a whole.
Visiting the San Diego Zoo and theSan Diego Zoo Safari Park helps support our studies of a disease affecting cheetahs. Feline herpesvirus can cause respiratory disease and skin ulcers in cheetahs. To prevent this, our researchers are studying the risk factors that cause this infection in captive cheetahs and creating a database of infected individuals, including management and husbandry practices from zoos across North America. We can then recommend changes in the care of cheetahs to reduce the virus risk for this species.

You might be interested about Latest Animal Attacks News

Enhanced by Zemanta