In a new study, cheetahs are getting more affected by climate change conditions. Researchers have discovered that rising heat due to global warming is affecting the behaviors of cheetahs. The fastest animal on the planet cannot outrun the effects of global warming, mentions researchers in the new study.
According to the Biological Sciences journal that was published on Wednesday, cheetahs are becoming nocturnal beings due to the rising temperature of the planet. This makes cheetahs more vulnerable to climate change as this change increases the competition between other predators for hunting.
Lions, African wild dogs, leopards, wolves and coyotes hunt during the night with the addition of cheetahs the competition increases. Washington University’s researchers investigated rising temperatures impacting activities of large carnivorous animals in Africa like cheetahs, lions, leopards and African wild dogs.
In the research they found that the species are changing their activity patterns where animals are becoming more active during the night and less active during the day. Wildlife biologist, Kasin Rafiq at University of Washington who is the lead author of this research group said this to a news outlet.
The most significant change found in the research was in cheetahs mentioned by Rafiq. Cheetahs are generally diurnal species who are awake most during days. As our planet is getting warmer day by day the cheetahs activity patterns are shifting towards night overlapping with other carnivores activities.
Rafiq said that the researchers were able to put high-resolution GPS collars on different animals to track activities of them during a period of time and how global warming is impacting them in 2011. And this was what they found that cheetahs are more vulnerable to rising temperatures.
He says, “The reason for that is because we think it’s just too hot for them to be active during the daytime hours, and so they become more nocturnal, the same way people do in some countries where they try to avoid the midday heat.”
What worries most the researchers is that in the same area during night other nocturnal animals also hunt and eat the same food. This will increase competition for food and most of these predators don’t get along with each other and might kill each other for food.
Establishing hierarchy and climate change will force cheetahs to hunt at night but if they come across a lion after hunting then the lion might steal the food making the cheetahs starve. So small predators will lose out from surviving due to changing their hunting pattern due to climate change.