Namibian cheetah ‘Jwala’ gives birth to three cubs in Kuno: Union minister | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Namibian cheetah ‘Jwala’ gives birth to three cubs in Kuno: Union minister

Jan 23, 2024 11:31 AM IST

This comes just weeks after Namibian cheetah 'Aasha' gave birth to her cubs.

A Namibian cheetah ‘Jwala’ gave birth to three cubs at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav said on Tuesday. This comes just weeks after Namibian cheetah 'Aasha' gave birth to her cubs.

In this file image, cheetahs seen at Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh's Sheopur district. (PTI)
In this file image, cheetahs seen at Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh's Sheopur district. (PTI)

“Kuno’s new cubs! Namibian Cheetah named Jwala has given birth to three cubs… Congratulations to all wildlife frontline warriors and wildlife lovers across the country. May Bharat’s wildlife thrive…,” Bhupender Yadav wrote on social media X (formally Twitter) sharing a video.

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In March 2023, Jwala, whose previous name was ‘Siyaya’, had given birth to four cubs, but only one of them (a female) survived.

Cheetah, the fastest land animal, was declared extinct in India in 1952. Cheetahs were translocated to the Kuno National Park 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 park on September 17, 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 top court 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.

The much-vaunted cheetah conservation project, however, has drawn strong criticism over the deaths of seven of the 20 adults imported from Namibia and South Africa.

Officials said one of the biggest challenges faced in the first year of managing the cheetahs in India was the unexpected development of winter coats by some of the animals during the Indian summer and monsoon, in anticipation of the African winter (June to September).

The winter coat, combined with high humidity and temperatures, caused itching, prompting the animals to scratch their necks on tree trunks or the ground. This led to bruising and exposing the skin, where flies laid eggs, resulting in maggot infestations and, ultimately, bacterial infections and septicemia, leading to the deaths of three cheetahs, news agency PTI quoted an official as saying.

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