Meeting Abstract

91.5  Saturday, Jan. 7  Dynamics of hunting in free ranging cheetah WILSON, AM*; LOWE, J; HUDSON, PE; ROSKILLY, K; MCNUTT, JW; The Royal Veterinary College; The Royal Veterinary College; The Royal Veterinary College; The Royal Veterinary College; Botswana Predator Conservation Trust awilson@rvc.ac.uk

Studies of maximum performance are limited by subject motivation and attempts by ourselves and others to measure domestic cheetah performance show limited straight line and manoeuvring performance. We set out to describe the speed, acceleration and manoeuvring of wild cheetahs when hunting. We developed a collar powered by a combination of rechargeable, non rechargeable batteries and solar panels. Sensors comprise a 5Hz L1 raw pseudorange Doppler data GPS receiver, 3-axis MEMS accelerometer, 3 axis MEMS gyroscope, and a 3 axis magnetometer. Data were off loaded via a wireless link to an aircraft or vehicle. The sensors provide, at 300 Hz, acceleration (force) and with integration velocity and position, angular velocity and with integration heading and orientation of the collar and (approximately) the cheetah. GPS pseudorange and Doppler velocity vector to each individual satellite are post processed along with data from a local ground station (tightly coupled mode) using our own Kalman filtering optimised for sensor characteristics and animal dynamics to provide the data we require. Accuracy is 0.2 m position, 0.1 ms-1 speed and 2 degree heading and track (all sd). The collar adapts its operation (and hence power consumption) across six states depending on the time of day, the animal’s activity level and battery voltage. This allows collection of fine grained behaviour and movement data. Collars were attached to three cheetahs in the Okavango Delta area of Botswana. To date we have collected data for 22 hunts from these three cheetah and data collection is ongoing. Successful hunts involve rapid acceleration, relatively high speed galloping (up to 22 ms-1) with a stride frequency of up to 4 Hz and a period of manoeuvring with lateral accelerations of close to 2g.