Understanding the Role of Semiochemicals on the Reproductive Behaviour of Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)—A Review

Date
2021-11-03
Authors
Tommasi, Alexia
Molotsi, Annelin H.
Esposito, Giulia
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Agricultural and Biosystems EngineeringCivil, Construction and Environmental EngineeringFood Science and Human Nutrition
Abstract
The cheetah species (Acinonyx jubatus) is currently listed as vulnerable according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Captive breeding has long since been used as a method of conservation of the species, with the aim to produce a healthy, strong population of cheetahs with an increased genetic variety when compared to their wild counterparts. This would then increase the likelihood of survivability once released into protected areas. Unfortunately, breeding females have been reported to be difficult due to the age of these animals. Older females are less fertile, have more difficult parturition, and are susceptible to asymmetric reproductive aging whereas younger females tend to show a significantly lower frequency of mating behaviour than that of older females, which negatively affects breeding introductions, and therefore mating. Nonetheless, the experience from breeding methods used in some breeding centres in South Africa and the Netherlands, which also rely on the role that semiochemicals play in breeding, proves that cheetahs can be bred successfully in captivity. This review aims to give the reader an in-depth overview of cheetahs’ reproductive physiology and behaviour, focusing on the role that pheromones play in this species. Furthermore, it aims to provide new insight into the use of semiochemicals to improve conservation strategies through captive breeding.
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This article is published as Tommasi, Alexia, Jacek A. Koziel, Annelin H. Molotsi, and Giulia Esposito. "Understanding the Role of Semiochemicals on the Reproductive Behaviour of Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)—A Review." Animals 11, no. 11 (2021): 3140. DOI: 10.3390/ani11113140. Copyright 2021 by the authors. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Posted with permission.
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asymmetric reproductive aging, breeding, endangered species, Felidae, marking fluid, pheromones, precopulatory behaviour, reproduction, wild cats, wildlife conservation
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