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**ignore the narrating of PowerPoint, only need the slides completed**
This is the topic chosen that needs to be discussed:
For my course project, I am planning to focus on promoting natural social and mating behaviors of cheetahs at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia. From what I have gathered, the goal of CCF is to create a world sustainable for the flourishment and success of cheetahs while also coexisting with the unavoidable human impact surrounding their habitats. One of the facets of this mission means focusing on the reproductive health and mating abilities of cheetahs. They already struggle in the wild with high infancy mortality rates, so if we can effectively support release of more cheetahs into the wild through artificial insemination, then hopefully this endangered species may stand a fighting chance. Although I know they hope that most of the cheetahs taken in can be released back into the wild, not all of them are able (for behavioral or medical reasons). A big problem with studying mating behaviors of both the pre-released and resident cheetahs at CCF can be the anxiety that they experience in any sort of captive setting.
Cheetahs are naturally more high-strung than most big cats, but human interaction can cause their anxiety to peak. When animals, including cheetahs, experience high levels of anxiety, natural behaviors, such as mating, do not occur.
My suggestion for CCF is to consider introducing ‘therapy’ dogs into the environment and pairing each of the cheetahs with their own. Many wildlife centers around the world have found that cheetahs will form a strong bond with an emotional support dog at a young age, and they will begin feeding off their energy in situations that would have otherwise caused them immense stress. I believe that if CCF implemented a pairing like this with their own cats, they may find more success in their endeavors to observe and track the mating cycles for their reproductive research. It is difficult to mimic natural behaviors in wild animals when they are not in their natural habitats, so I believe that any opportunity to decrease their stress and resume more natural behavior should be considered.