One more cheetah dies in Kuno National Park; 7th since March | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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One more cheetah dies in Kuno National Park; 7th since March

PTI |
Jul 11, 2023 09:54 PM IST

The male cheetah, Tejas, was brought to KNP in Sheopur district from South Africa in February this year.

One more African cheetah died in Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park (KNP) on Tuesday due to suspected infighting, a senior forest department official said, the seventh feline fatality in four months. 

The feline, brought from South Africa as part of the ambitious cheetah reintroduction programme, was in an enclosure at the time of the incident, the official said.
The feline, brought from South Africa as part of the ambitious cheetah reintroduction programme, was in an enclosure at the time of the incident, the official said.

The male cheetah, Tejas, was brought to KNP in Sheopur district from South Africa in February this year. With this, seven felines, including three cubs born to Namibian cheetah 'Jwala', have died at KNP since March, in a setback to the reintroduction programme launched with much fanfare in September last year. "Cheetah Tejas, aged around four years, died in KNP due to suspected infighting," Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Wildlife J S Chauhan told PTI. 

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Also read | Male cheetah, Agni, injured in fight at Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park

The feline, brought from South Africa as part of the ambitious cheetah reintroduction programme, was in an enclosure at the time of the incident, the official said. The latest death came a day after two more male cheetahs were released into the wild at KNP.

 According to an official press release, the monitoring team spotted some injury marks on the neck of Tejas in enclosure number 6 at around 11 am on Tuesday following which veterinarians were called. After getting due approval for tranquilizing the injured cheetah, a team of veterinarians reached the spot at around 2 pm, but the feline was found dead, said the release. 

An investigation was underway and the exact cause of the big cat's death would be known after receiving the post-mortem report, it said. Cheetah Jwala had given birth to four cubs in March this year, but three of them died due to dehydration and weakness in May. Four cubs of Jwala, earlier named Siyaya and brought from Namibia in September 2022, were born in the wild on Indian soil for the first time after the last cheetah was hunted in Korea district of present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947. 

One of the Namibian cheetahs, Sasha, succumbed to a kidney-related ailment on March 27, while another cheetah, Uday, from South Africa, died on April 13. Daksha, a cheetah brought from South Africa, died of injuries following a violent interaction with a male feline during a mating attempt on May 9. 

Eight Namibian cheetahs -- five female and three male -- were released into enclosures at KNP on September 17 last year at a high-profile event attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In February this year, 12 more cheetahs arrived at KNP from South Africa. From 24 cheetahs - 20 translocated from Namibia and South African and four cubs born at KNP - the total count of felines at the national park has now dropped to 17. 

The fastest land animal was declared extinct in the country in 1952. Earlier in the day, another forest official said two more cheetahs -- Prabhash and Pavak -- were released into the wild at KNP on Monday, taking the count of such felines to 12. Sheopur's Divisional Forest Officer P K Verma said both were brought from South Africa.

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