Namibian cheetah Shaurya dies at MP's Kuno park; 10th fatality so far

Representational image
Representational image

Bhopal | Namibian cheetah Shaurya died at the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, state Forest Minister Nagar Singh Chouhan said, making it the 10th such fatality since the reintroduction of African big cats in India in 2022.

The exact cause of the feline's death was not immediately clear and it will be known only after post-mortem examination, said a forest department statement.

When contacted by PTI, Forest Minister Chouhan said he has received a report about the death of Namibian cheetah Shaurya at the KNP in Sheopur district.

The male cheetah was found not walking properly by the tracking team around 11 am after which it was tranquilized and efforts were made to revive the feline, but they failed, said the statement.

Complications arose post-revival and the wild animal failed to respond to CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and died at 3.17 pm, it said.

Since March 2023, seven adult cheetahs, including Shaurya, and three cubs have died at the KNP due to various reasons, taking the toll to ten.

The adult cheetahs - three females and four males - to have died so far include Sasha (March 27, 2023), Uday (April 23, 2023), Daksha (May 9, 2023), Tejas (July 11, 2023), Suraj (July 14, 2023), Dhatri (August 2, 2023) and Shaurya (January 16, 2023).

One of the four cubs born to translocated Namibian cheetah 'Jwala' died on May 23, 2023, and two others on May 25, 2023.

The total number of surviving cheetahs at the KNP now stands at 17 (six males, seven females and four cubs).

On January 3, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav had shared news about the birth of three cubs to Namibian cheetah Aasha on social media platform X.

In March 2023, Siyaya, later renamed as Jwala, had given birth to four cubs, but only one of them (a female) survived.

Cheetah, the fastest land animal, was declared extinct in the country in 1952. Cheetahs were translocated to the KNP from South Africa and Namibia as part of the central government's ambitious plan to revive their population in India.

Under the Cheetah Reintroduction Project, eight big cats from Namibia - five females and three males - were released into enclosures at the KNP on September 17 in 2022. In February 2023, another 12 cheetahs were brought to the park from South Africa.

In December last year, four cheetahs were released into the wild, but two of them were later captured and shifted to bomas (enclosures). One of these two cheetahs, Agni, was tranquilised in Baran district of Rajasthan and brought back to the KNP in December.

In May last year, while voicing concern over the death of felines, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to file a detailed affidavit explaining the reasons and remedial measures taken.

In response, the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had told the SC that the death of adult cheetahs and cubs at the KNP is troubling, but not "unduly alarming", and the surviving big cats are being captured and medically examined as a precautionary measure.

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