BOTHMA, J. du P. & WALKER, C. (1999)

Larger Carnivores of the African Savannas.

X + 274 Seiten. E-Book https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-662-03766-9
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999. DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-03766-9


The Cheetah

The cheetah Acinonyx jubatus has had a long association with man, but its first contact with humans was actually in India and on the plains of southern Africa. Because of their speed and hunting prowess, captive cheetahs have been used by man as food hunters for many centuries. The oldest record of a captive cheetah is depicted on a decorated silver vase from a Scythian burial site at Maikop in the Caucasus Range, which shows the cheetah wearing a collar. This vase dates back to approximately 700 to 300 BC. However, it is likely that early man joined other scavengers in robbing cheetahs of their kills long before the Maikop culture. In doing so, these early hunters probably exploited the cheetah’s relative timidity, daytime hunting habits, and also its open plains habitat. The Moghul Emperor Akbar the Great is also said to have kept up to 3000 cheetahs to hunt antelope, while sketches of a Dionysian procession in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy II from 309 to 246 BC show a cheetah on a leash. Even before the ancient Assyrian empire in Mesopotamia and during the reign of the pharaohs in Egypt, captive cheetahs were used for coursing game. During the fifth century and the early Renaissance in Italy cheetahs were also employed for this purpose. Despite its timidity, the ancient Egyptians endowed the cheetah with the spirit of courage, but today it is regarded more as a symbol of elusive grace in a declining wilderness than as a fierce hunter.


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