Legolas was a member of the Ring Brothers, one of the largest coalitions that CCB has been studying, explains Horgan (coalitions are small groups of males). There were four cheetahs in the Ring Brothers coalition and it was a robust group: "We suspect they were so successful because there were so many of them - the more there are in the coalition, the larger the prey they can bring down and the more there is to eat," she adds.
Legolas' murder, therefore, may have a deleterious effect on the function of the group. "Losing one of the members, especially the largest, who may have been instrumental in catching prey, will likely diminish their success in the wild," she says.
Of the seven cheetahs that were collared in the research project in 2014, three have been shot. CCB says it will continue to watch the rest of the Ring Brothers group who are now living without Legolas.
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