Five more cheetahs to release in Kuno National Park before monsoon


Five more cheetahs -three females – two males will be released from the acclimatisation camps into free-roaming conditions before the onset of the monsoon rains in June at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park, as per the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

In a statement the Ministry said These Cheetahs were chosen for release based on their behavioural characteristics and approachability by the monitoring teams.

“These released cheetahs will be monitored in the same way as those that have already been released “it said.

The Ministry took the decision after a team of experts reviewed the current status of the “Project Cheetah” on the directions of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

“Cheetahs will be allowed to move out of KNP and will not necessarily be recaptured unless they venture into areas where they are in significant danger” it said.

Till date, four of the cheetahs from Namibia have been released from the fenced acclimatization camps into free-ranging conditions in KNP.

The Ministry said all the cheetahs are fitted with satellite collars that record their location twice a day or more depending upon the situation.

Monitoring teams have been employed to follow the released cheetahs 24 hours a day in rotating shifts, keeping some distance to allow the cheetah its normal behaviour and ranging.

“It is important that this intensive monitoring continues until the individual cheetahs have established home ranges” it said.

The Ministry said the remaining 10 cheetahs will remain in the acclimatisation camps for the duration of the monsoon season.

Certain internal gates will be left open to allow these cheetahs to utilise more space in the acclimatisation camps and for interactions between specific males and females to take place.

Giving information of Uday, the male adult South African cheetah who was found dead at KNP on April 23, the Ministry said he had died of cardio-pulmonary failure” and that a detailed postmortem examination found that it did not suffer from any infectious disease that may affect other cheetahs.

“The other cheetahs have been closely monitored and none of them have shown any similar symptoms. They all appear to be perfectly healthy, are hunting for themselves and displaying other natural behaviours” it said.

On Sasha, a six-year-old female from Namibia had died in March, the ministry said a post-mortem confirmed that she had died due to Chronic renal failure.  

Under the Project Cheetah India has translocated twenty cheetahs to Kuno National Park (KNP) in September 2022 and February 2023 from southern Africa.

The project hopes to benefit global cheetah conservation efforts by providing up to 100 000 km2 of habitat in legally protected areas and an additional 600 000 km2 of habitable landscape for the species.

Cheetahs fulfil a unique ecological role within the carnivore hierarchy and their restoration is expected to enhance ecosystem health in India.


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