June 12- Solar-and-battery powered tracking collars have given British researchers new insight into the hunting habits of the cheetah, one of the world's swiftest predators. Jim Drury reports.
It's the fastest land animal in the world....and now scientists say they've tracked the wild cheetah's speed and hunting technique more accurately than ever before. Researchers from Britain's Royal Veterinary College used a GPS with this solar-and-battery-powered motion sensing collar. They clocked sprints of up to 93 kilometres per hour at South Africa's Ann van Dyke Cheetah Centre, with sensors recording rates of acceleration as the cheetahs began their hunt and deceleration as they reached and subdued their prey. The team say the collar is sensitive to the animal's movements, enabling the most accurate measurements yet recorded. Previous tracking efforts involved filming or observing captive animals running in a straight line. But the researchers say their new measurements provide a truly scientific insight into one of the world's fastest and most captivating creatures.