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Cheetah's bark for sex

Cheetah's bark for sex

A team of bioacoustics experts studying cheetah vocalisation have discovered that a specific bark of the male cheetah induces ovulation in the female.


Female cheetahs do not have regular reproductive cycles and this has hampered captive breeding programmes of the species. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are an estimated 7,500 cheetahs in the wild. Critically-endangered, they are found only in Africa and Iran. Research leader Matt Anderson at the San Diego Wild Animal Park noted that the males’ “stutter bark” preceded mating by a few days, an observation which prompted him to examine the significance of the sound.


A report in the National Geographic said that the team selected a sexually mature female and two males for the experiment and recorded their calls as well as the hormones found in their faeces. The results revealed that increases in the stutter bark were directly proportionate to heightened levels of female reproductive hormones. The finding is important because while the use of sound to hasten reproduction has been seen among birds, the use of a vocal signal to activate a reproductive cycle in the female has never been recorded in mammals.


February 2009


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