Post-mortem report reveals female cheetah at Kuno died of ‘myiasis’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Post-mortem report reveals female cheetah at Kuno died of ‘myiasis’

Aug 05, 2023 10:46 AM IST

All the remaining 14 cheetahs — seven males, six females and one female cub — are kept in bomas at KNP and their health is being regularly monitored by the team comprising of Kuno wildlife veterinarians and the Namibian expert

The female cheetah– Dhatri at the Kuno National Park (KNP) died of infection resulting from maggot infestation, also known as “myiasis”, according to the post-mortem report released on Friday.

At present, Kuno has 15 cheetahs, including a cub (File Photo)
At present, Kuno has 15 cheetahs, including a cub (File Photo)

The female cheetah translocated from Namibia was found dead on Wednesday morning, taking the death toll of cheetahs at KNP in Madhya Pradesh to nine.

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There were two female cheetahs in the wild – Dhatri and Nirva while the other 14 cheetahs, including a cub, are in the enclosure.

This is the third cheetah death due to myiasis at the KNP, officials familiar with the report said.

“One of the female cheetahs from Namibia, Dhatri (Tbilisi), has passed away. CCF’s conservation release programme manager Barth Balli spent 10 days tracking her to get close enough for recapture. Though he could not capture her, he saw that she had successfully hunted,” informed Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) through Twitter.

“In partnership with the veterinary team at Kuno National Park, CCF conducted a post-mortem examination, revealing that the cause of death was an infection resulting from maggot infestation, also known as myiasis,” said the CCF.

The CCF further informed that the radio collars around their necks had also been taken off, due to which they were found infected, as the focus was on designing and testing improved collar materials for their monitoring devices.

“While two female cheetahs remain in the wild, our efforts are concentrated on bringing them back for comprehensive health assessments and any necessary treatments,” the statement adds.

Explaining the cause of death CCF said, “The rapid incubation rate of fly eggs, along with the inconspicuous nature of the larvae, pose challenges for early detection. Within a span of mere days, these larvae mature rapidly, and the phenomenon of myiasis is not exclusive to cheetahs; it’s also observed in humans. It tends to be prevalent in rural regions with tropical climates, such as India, or during rainy seasons in arid climates, like Namibia.”

“Our utmost priority lies in ensuring the well-being of these magnificent creatures and their successful reintegration into their natural habitat. Drawing from previous release studies conducted between 2004 and 2018, we observed a high success rate ranging from 75% to 96% among selected individuals in achieving independence post-release,” said the CCF.

“We are committed to the protection of cheetahs in Kuno, working persistently to restore them to their native environment,” it added.

Meanwhile, experts from South Africa have suggested in a report to the government, measures like shaving off the winter fur to be able to deal with any kind of infection.

All the remaining 14 cheetahs — seven males, six females and one female cub — are kept in bomas at KNP and their health is being regularly monitored by the team comprising of Kuno wildlife veterinarians and the Namibian expert.

In the first inter-continental translocation project, eight cheetahs were brought to Kuno from Namibia on September 17 last year, after a decades-long effort to restore a species that was declared extinct from the country in 1952.

Another 12 cheetahs were translocated from South Africa on February 18 this year. Of the 20 cheetahs, 10 were released into the wild, of whom four have died so far.

The remaining, mostly captive-bred, were kept in the six square km enclosure, of which two have died. Of the four cubs born in India to a Namibian cheetah, three have died. At present, Kuno has 15 cheetahs, including a cub.

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