Among all three different social clusters of cheetahs - packs of bachelor males, solitary males and groups of females - none "fed predominantly on the prey category that included cattle and gemsbok," the authors write. Bachelor males, who live in groups of two or three, were the most likely to hunt a grazer, but they mostly stuck to warthog and hartebeest. (The researchers didn't look to see if the cheetahs were eating goats or sheep, as ranchers mostly raise cattle in the cheetah habitat.)
Throughout Africa, large feline predators are often regarded as threats to livestock as well as human lives. But disease and drought, not big cats like lions, are the major loss of life to cattle. That doesn't mean cheetahs and lions aren't frequently killed in response to livestock deaths - perhaps because these predators make easier targets than fighting illness or a lack of water.
To prevent ranchers from seeking revenge on big cats, one solution is to build barriers called bomas, which keep cats and cattle separate. "Each fortified boma protects around 200 head of livestock, they're almost 100 percent effective," Amy Dickman, the director of the Ruaha Carnivore Project tells National Geographic, "and we've seen an 80 percent reduction in lion killings in the areas where they're being used."