The deaths of two cheetahs at Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh, are within ‘predicted mortality rates. The Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and Environment, South Africa, published a statement on the current scenario of Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh.
According to the statement, the cheetah moved from Namibia to India’s Kuno National Park in September 2022. Large carnivore reintroductions are challenging and risky endeavors. It is anticipated that some of the population may be lost within the first year post-release, as observed with cheetah reintroductions in Africa.
Uday, a six-year-old cheetah transported to India from South Africa, reportedly passed away on April 23. On March 27, Sasha, a five-year-old cheetah from one of the eight cheetahs imported from Namibia, passed away from kidney failure. She was given the all-clear in January despite having a kidney infection. The officials are waiting for an autopsy report to diagnose the death. Still, there is no indication that it was an infectious disease or that other cheetahs are in danger of contracting it.
THE MoU between India and South Africa
An MoU on Cooperation on the reintroduction of Cheetahs to India was inked by the governments of South Africa and India earlier this year.
To improve cheetah conservation, the MoU supports knowledge sharing and ensures the capacity to sustain cheetahs in Indian conditions. Additionally, it promotes collaboration between the two countries. It also encourages collaboration between the two countries to establish a viable, secure cheetah population in India. It covers resolving conflicts between people and animals, capturing and moving wildlife, and community involvement in conservation in the two nations.
The Behaviour of Cheetahs in the Forest
“It is also predicted that after the re-release of cheetahs, they will escape the boundaries of Kuno National Park and may have to experience temporary stress during the recapture process,”
the statement continued. The situation will stabilize once the cheetahs establish home ranges.
Cheetahs are released into extended environments with less control over their daily well-being, so the project stage is crucial. The statement further claims that there will be an increase in the risks of injury and mortality. The reintroduction plan takes these risks into account. The cheetahs were moved to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh to increase the cheetah meta-population and restore cheetahs to a range.
All the South African cheetahs are in a significant area and are closely monitored twice daily. Since they are wild cheetahs, it is difficult for teams working on the ground to determine exactly how well they are doing. The well-being of cheetahs is determined by their behavior, movements, and physical condition. Over the next two months, the eleven surviving South African cheetahs will be reintroduced into the wild. The unfenced protected region of Kuno is home to many predators that compete with one another, including wolves, sloth bears, leopards, and striped hyenas.
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