NEW DELHI, Jan 16: Another cheetah died on Tuesday afternoon in the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh – the 10th such death since their reintroduction in India in 2022. The Namibian cheetah was named Shaurya and the cause of death will be known after the post-mortem, said an official statement.
With this, seven adults and three cubs have died at the national park – deaths that have been attributed to various infections.
“Today, on 16th January, 2024 around 3:17 PM, Namibian Cheetah Shaurya passed away. Around 11 AM in the morning, incoordination and staggering gait was observed by the tracking team following which the animal was tranquilized and weakness was found,” said the statement by the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Director, Lion Project.
“Following this, the animal was revived but complications arose post revival and the animal failed to respond to CPR. Cause of death can be ascertained after post mortem,” it added.
The last and the ninth cheetah death in Kuno was reported on August 2 last year. The government had in the parliament cited infections caused by insects during monsoon season as the cause for the last two deaths.
Cheetahs were declared extinct in India in 1952. As many as 20 of adult big cats were brought from abroad to the Kuno park again in 2022. The cheetahs were imported in two batches – from Namibia (2022) and South Africa (2023).
The initiative began on September 17, 2022, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a group of cheetahs brought from Namibia into an enclosure in Kuno. Four cubs were born in the park since, but three of them and six other adults died in a span of five months ending last August. The 10th death was reported on Tuesday.
The multiple cheetah deaths issue had even reached the Supreme Court last year, which said there was no reason to question the central government on the moves being made to reintroduce cheetahs in India. The Project Cheetah head SP Yadav had had said earlier that another batch of cheetahs would be imported from South Africa for their introduction in the Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary.