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News2News.in Explainer: African countries have given sick leopards to India, is ‘Project Cheetah’ in danger?

Project Cheetah.

Project Cheetah.

News2News.in Explainer: Cheetahs were declared extinct in India about 70 years ago. It is said that in the year 1947, Raja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Surguja hunted the last three cheetahs left in India. Now the central government is continuously working to revive cheetahs in the country. Last year, 20 cheetahs from Africa were brought to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh under PM Narendra Modi’s dream project ‘Project Cheetah’. In the first batch of cheetahs, eight cheetahs were brought from 17 September 2022 and then 12 cheetahs from South Africa reached India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi released these cheetahs in the park on the occasion of his birthday. One of the cheetahs released in Kuno was a female cheetah named Jwala, who gave birth to 4 cubs. In this way the total number of cheetahs in Kuno National Park had reached 24.

Meanwhile, this project of the government to rehabilitate cheetahs in the country seems to be failing. Actually, 3 out of 4 cubs of Jwala Cheetah brought from Namibia have died within the last one week. Out of this, one cub died on 23 May and two on 25 May, while one is ill. Apart from these cubs, 3 big cheetahs have also died in the past. Namibian cheetah Shasa died of kidney-related complications on 27 March, while another cheetah, Uday, died on 23 April. Apart from this, the female cheetah Daksha of South Africa also said goodbye to this world. After all these deaths, now only 18 cheetahs are left in Kuno National Park. These include seven Namibians, ten South Africans and one cub. Since the death of one cheetah in Kuno for some time, the question has started to arise whether this park is not right for cheetahs or African countries have cheated India.

Why are African cheetahs dying in India?

Kuno National Park too small for cheetahs

Most experts agree that Kuno National Park is too small for cheetahs. African and Namibian cheetahs have to struggle a lot to adapt to the ecologies here. Cheetahs are not even able to hunt. Scientists and researchers from the Namibia-based Leibniz IZW’s Cheetah Research Project say that the area of ​​Kuro National Park is too small for the large animal. The most important thing to understand is that there is one cheetah per 100 square kilometers in Africa. According to this, the area of ​​Kuno National Park is very less. At the same time, there is no facility of fencing in 17 out of 44 kilometers of this park. The area is 1.15 lakh hectares.

opinion of wildlife experts

Expressing concern over the death of cheetahs, South African wildlife specialist Vincent van der Merwe said that so far the project to rehabilitate cheetahs in unfenced sanctuaries has never been successful. In such a situation, India should put a fence in the areas of cheetahs. Van der Merwe said that there have been 15 such attempts in South Africa, none of which were successful. He says that ‘source reserve’ should be established. These are habitat areas where suitable habitats and favorable environmental conditions exist. At the same time, he has expressed apprehension that in the coming days, when cheetahs will try to establish their territory in Kuno National Park, they will encounter leopards and tigers and it is very likely that some will die during this time.

Did sick cheetahs come to India from South Africa and Namibia?

Regarding the death of cheetahs, the officials concerned say that Namibia did not tell the real truth to India. According to him, Namibian cheetahs were sick even before coming to India, but Namibia had not informed India about this. Now this whole matter is being investigated. Officials say the female cheetah, Sasha, had kidney disease. South Africa’s wildlife expert Adrian Tordif explains that long-term captivity can cause this type of disease in cheetahs of Namibia or South Africa. He told that cheetahs face problems because of food. Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) Laurie Marker said about Sasha’s death that we knew that Sasha would not live long. He says that these cats and cheetahs usually have failure problems. Giving information from the Forest Department, it was told that after blood test of female cheetah Sasha brought from Namibia to India, it was found that her creatinine level is more than 400. In such a situation, it becomes clear that Sasha had kidney disease even before he was brought to India. The medical staff says that now it has to be seen whether other cheetahs have the same disease as Sasha.

Cheetah cubs survive less

3 out of 4 children of female cheetah Jwala have died. A research in Africa in the 90s found that only 5 out of 100 cheetah cubs survive to adulthood. The chances of survival of cheetah cubs are very less. The special thing is that the female cheetah lives alone. She has to live alone to raise her children. Also, this is the first time a carnivore has been introduced from one continent to another, which is quite a challenge. Wild cheetahs are stressed by close proximity to humans and by imprisoning them in cages.

Cheetahs are not being managed properly

Wildlife activist Ajay says that MP Kuno National Park’s wildlife management is responsible for the death of cheetahs. He says that the administration there is not trending for this. The promises made for the management under the Cheetah project are not proving correct. The situation is so bad that the doctors of Bhopal are managing. He clearly says that cheetahs are not being managed properly.

side of the court

Even the Supreme Court has expressed concern over the deaths of cheetahs in Kuno National Park. The court says that if cheetahs are not safe here, then they should consider shifting to another park or century. Let us inform that in the beginning of this project, MP’s Kuno National Park, Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary and Rajasthan’s Shahgarh were finalized for settling cheetahs. However, looking at the immediate situation, the review team of the Cheetah project is engaged in preparing some areas including Nauradehi.

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