Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024
Female cheetah dies in Kuno National park, third fatality in two months

A female cheetah named Daksha on Tuesday died at Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh following a “violent interaction” with male cheetahs during courtship. Daksha was the third cheetah to die at the national park in the last three months brought from South Africa.

“The female cheetah Daksha released from South Africa in Kuno National Park was found fatally injured by the monitoring team on 09.05.2023 at 10:45 am. Treatment was done by the veterinarians but said Cheetah died tragically at 12.00 noon the same day” a Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change press release stated.

The wounds found on the female cheetah Daksha seem to have been caused by a violent interaction with the male, during the mating attempt. Such violent behaviours by male coalition cheetahs towards female cheetahs during mating are common. In such a situation, the chances of intervention by the monitoring team are almost non-existent and practically impossible, further remarked.

The autopsy of the dead female cheetah is being carried out by the veterinary team as per the protocol.

Two male cheetahs, Vayu and Agni, who had also been transported to Kuno from South Africa, had been freed from enclosure 7 for mating, and Daksha had been put into enclosure number one.

At a meeting on April 30, it was decided to let Daksha hang out with the male cheetahs. Amit Mallick, the inspector general of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, Dr. Qamar Qureshi, a professor from the Wildlife Institute of India, Adrian Tordiffe, a researcher from South Africa, and Vincent van der Merwe, the director of the Cheetah Meta Population Initiative, all attended this meeting.

According to the decision taken at this meeting, it was “decided to mate the cheetah male coalition, Agni and Vayu from South Africa present in enclosure number 7, with Daksha”.

As a result, the gate between enclosures 7 and 1 was opened on May 1, and the male cheetahs entered enclosure 1 on May 6, Madhya Pradesh Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) J S Chauhan said.

In the first intercontinental translocation of its kind, 20 cheetahs from Africa were moved to India last year. Currently, 17 of those animals are still there.

Another cheetah that was brought to Kuno from South Africa, named Uday, passed away on April 2 after becoming unwell unexpectedly. Sasha, a cheetah from Namibia, passed away on March 27 as a result of renal problems. Sasha was believed to have contracted the kidney ailment during its captivity in Namibia and had been unwell since arriving in Kuno.

In September of last year, eight cheetahs were translocated from Namibia and released in Kuno, beginning the intercontinental translocation of cheetahs from Africa to India. In February 2023, 12 more cheetahs were  translocated from South Africa.

They were transported to India in an effort to increase the number of cheetahs there, which had seen its last cheetah die in the Koriya district of present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947. In India, the species was declared extinct in 1952.

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