BHOPAL: In yet another unfortunate incident at Kuno National Park, the death toll of cheetahs has risen to nine. On August 2, a senior official associated with Project Cheetah confirmed that one more cheetah has succumbed, marking the sixth adult feline to have passed away since March.
The deceased cheetah was identified as Dhatri (Tiblisi), one of the female cheetahs, and a post-mortem examination is underway to determine the cause of death.
Currently, Kuno National Park houses 14 cheetahs, consisting of seven males, six females, and one female cub. Also, a female cheetah is roaming freely, and a dedicated team is closely monitoring her. Efforts are being made to bring her back to the enclosure for a thorough health examination, as stated by the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department.
Project Cheetah involved the import of a total of 20 radio-collared animals from Namibia and South Africa to KNP. Four cubs were later born from Namibian cheetah ‘Jwala.’ Unfortunately, out of these 24 felines, nine, including three cubs, have already passed away.
The situation has caught the attention of the Supreme Court, which expressed concern about the cheetah deaths at KNP on July 20. The court had previously urged the Centre to rise above politics and consider relocating the cheetahs to Rajasthan, as it seemed that KNP couldn't adequately accommodate such a large number of cheetahs. The court also suggested shifting the animals that became extinct in the country in 1947-48 to other sanctuaries.
The Supreme Court is currently handling an application filed by the Centre, seeking a direction that the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) should no longer be obliged to seek guidance and advice from the expert committee appointed by the court through an order dated January 28, 2020.