Namibian Cheetah strays in residential areas, officials keep watch

Forest officials are trying to send the cheetah back to Kuno National Park, which is not too far from the villages the cheetah was seen roaming around

Cheetah reintroduction

Sheopur (Madhya Pradesh): A cheetah, which was brought in from Namibia for its rehabilitation, has strayed in to residential areas of Sheopur district in Madhya Pradesh. The cheetahs were released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kuno National Park of the district. It was spotted in in the fields of Parvati-Baroda village at around 3.30 pm on Monday.

Forest department team has reached the spot. Forest officials are trying to send the cheetah back to Kuno National Park, which is not too far from the villages the cheetah was seen roaming around. Caller ID is being used to track the location of the cheetah and monitor its movement.

Also Read: Project Cheetah: India-Namibia sign pacts on wildlife conservation

The cheetah named Owan has been seen around the village of Parvati-Baroda on Monday. A day, it was seen roaming around Jhar-Baroda village, which is around 1.5 km far. However, as the river Kwari flows between the two villages, people need to take a 4 kilometers detour to get to each other’s villages.

The cheetah was seen drinking water on the banks of the Kwari river flowing between the two villages. Earlier on Sunday morning, the cheetah had reached the fields of Jhar-Baroda village, although it had returned to the forest by evening, but today it crossed the Kwari river and was seen around Parvati Baroda village. Both these villages are adjacent to Kuno National Park.

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

‘Owan’ enjoying Kwary river area

Owan, the male cheetah from Kuno, seems to be liking the Kwari river area. Sometimes it is seen sitting in the fields, sometimes by the river side. It was seen sitting on a hillside and glancing around. Forest department staff are also present around the cheetah, keeping an eye on its every movement.

Cheetah spending afternoon in a place with water & coolness

“The male cheetah Owan is spending the afternoon sitting in water or a cool place. It was spotted sitting in a watered-down field of onions and garlic. A video of it also came out. On Monday afternoon, it was seen drinking water on the river Kwari in the area of Baroda village. After spending the day in the surrounding bushes where it was a bit cooler, it started heading towards the fields when evening came.

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

The presence of the cheetah around the village is causing panic among the villagers. People are afraid to go to their farms. A villager Virender Rawat says the cheetah has come to the fields near our village. Some people are happy to see it from a distance while most are scared. The forest department should take measures soon to prevent cheetahs and other wild animals from entering residential areas.

No need to fear, say forest officials

“The cheetah has a habit of roaming openly in the area. It has never attacked humans anywhere in the world, So, there is no need to be afraid of it,” said Amit Rathore, Vijayapur sub-divisional officer of Kuno forest division. “I appeal to the people to stay away and let it roam. They shall not obstruct its way with crowds,” he added.

Forest staff avoiding use of tranquiliser to save cheetah from stress

The cheetah can also be tranquilised to send it back, but for now the forest staff is monitoring the cheetah and waiting for it to return. Rathore said the cheetah is completely safe. “It is under the supervision of forest staff. The cheetah is not under any stress, so we are waiting for its return to the national park.

Villagers spotted the cheetah at 6 am on Sunday

Villagers said the cheetah appeared in Jhar-Baroda in Vijayapur area on Sunday. Rakesh, a resident of the village, said that onions were planted in the field behind his house. At about 6 am, he noticed the cheetah lying near the field. He captured the cheetah in mobile camera from his home. The movement of the cheetah was seen around the village for past 10 days about 1.5 km away from the village.

Also Read: Taskforce set up to watch Cheetah introduction, frame regulations

On Saturday night, Owan cheetah also hunted a cow near fields 1.5 km from Jhar-Baroda village. The body was seen by villagers in the area. The villagers in the area have been in panic after seeing the cheetah in the fields. People are even afraid to go to the farms.

Four cheetahs were released into Kuno national park

Cheetah Task Force officials recently released the cheetahs named Owan, Asha, Friendy and Elton from the enclosure into the open forest of the Kuno national park under Project Cheetah programme. Since then, the four have been consistently spotted out of Kuno, sometimes in the Tiktoli area and sometimes in the Morawan region. Villagers say the cheetah has entered their fields since morning. “We first thought it was a leopard, later we have found out it is a cheetah,” said a villager.

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