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Madhya Pradesh: Cheetah Shaurya dies at Kuno National Park, 10th fatality since start of project | VIDEO

The director of the project overseeing the cheetah relocation explained that the exact cause of Shaurya's death remains uncertain and can only be determined through a post-mortem examination.

Edited By: Nitin Kumar @Niitz1 New Delhi Updated on: January 16, 2024 21:02 IST
Kuno National Park
Image Source : PTI/FILE PHOTO A cheetah at Kuno National Park in Sheopur.

Another cheetah, part of India's ambitious Project Cheetah, has met an untimely demise at Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park. Shaurya, brought from Namibia in September 2022, succumbed to health complications, marking the seventh adult cheetah and third cub death since March 2023. The director of the cheetah relocation project has emphasised that determining the exact cause of Shaurya's death requires a comprehensive post-mortem examination. The feline displayed signs of distress, including incoordination and a staggering gait, leading to a tranquilising attempt for assessment.

Project Cheetah: India's Cheetah conservation initiative

Project Cheetah involves the relocation of 20 cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa to Kuno National Park. Launched by the Indian government, it aims to reintroduce cheetahs to the wild in India, where they became extinct nearly seven decades ago.

Chronicle of Cheetah deaths raises alarms

Shaurya's demise adds to the string of cheetah fatalities at Kuno National Park. In August 2023, female cheetah Dhatri was found dead, while Namibian cheetah Sasha succumbed to kidney complications in March. Subsequent losses included Uday, Daksha, and cubs, raising concerns about the well-being and conservation efforts of these endangered species.

Underlying factors and expert opinions

Experts have speculated various reasons behind the sudden cheetah deaths, including intra-species conflicts, diseases, and injuries during hunting. Possible infections from radio collars used for tracking and monitoring have also triggered controversy, leading to skin infections, maggot infestations, and septicaemia.

Conservation challenges and ongoing efforts

Cheetah conservation faces multifaceted challenges, requiring a nuanced approach. As concerns mount over the impact of relocation and habitat adaptation, the post-mortem results for Shaurya are pivotal for assessing and refining conservation strategies under Project Cheetah. Addressing factors contributing to these unfortunate fatalities will be crucial for the long-term success of India's cheetah reintroduction initiative.

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