Cheetah reintroduction plan suffers blow as 8th big cat dies at Kuno

The tragic incident happened three days after another male cheetah, Tejas, was found dead at the Kuno national park in Madhya Pradesh

Cheetah reintroduction

Bhopal: A male cheetah died at the Kuno national park in Madhya Pradesh on Friday, making it the eighth big cat casualty in nearly four months. The recent deaths of big cats have dwelt a major blow to the Central government’s much-trumpeted Cheetah reintroduction programme

According to a senior forest official, the African cheetah, Suraj, was found dead at the Kuno National Park early this morning. “We are trying t ascertain the exact cause of the cheetah’s death,” he said.

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The tragic incident happened three days after another male cheetah, Tejas, was found dead at the national park. The feline’s autopsy had revealed that the cheetah was unable to recover from a “traumatic shock” after a violent fight with a female cheetah.

A female Cheetah named Sasha died due to kidney ailment on March 27, while on April 23, Uday died of cardio-pulmonary failure and on May 9, Daksha, a female cheetah, died after a violent interaction with a male during a mating attempt. Two cheetah cubs died of “extreme weather condition and dehydration” on May 25.

Also Read: Namibian cheetah, brought in India for rehabilitation, dies

Suraj’s death is yet another blow to the Centre’s cheetah reintroduction programme launched in September last year, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Earlier, the Centre had denied any lapses behind the deaths of the six cheetahs. “There is no lapse behind any of the cheetah deaths. Even in the case of the deaths of the three cheetah cubs, global wildlife literature clearly mentions 90% per cent infant mortality among cheetahs,” said an official.

Also Read: 2nd lot of cheetahs to arrive in India from South Africa on Feb 18

In May, South African wildlife expert Vincent van der Merwe had predicted more cheetah deaths and said that the reintroduction project is going to see an even higher mortality, when the cheetahs would try to establish territories and come face to face with leopards and tigers at the park.

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