Tragic Loss Continues: Ninth Cheetah Fatality in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park
A disheartening development has emerged from Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park as news breaks of yet another cheetah fatality, marking the ninth such tragedy within the park. The Madhya Pradesh Forest Department announced this unfortunate occurrence on August 2, shedding light on a concerning trend that has wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists deeply worried.
The cause behind this recent cheetah death remains shrouded in mystery. The forest department’s statement mentioned that a female cheetah named Dhatri (Tiblisi) was discovered lifeless. To uncover the reasons for her untimely demise, a post-mortem examination is currently underway. This unfortunate event constitutes the sixth loss of an adult cheetah within the confines of the national park.
Presently, the park houses a total of 14 cheetahs within enclosed spaces called bomas. Among these, seven are males, six are females, and there is one female cub. Interestingly, one female cheetah roams freely, subject to rigorous monitoring by a dedicated team. Intensive efforts are being made to safely reintroduce her into a boma for a comprehensive health assessment.
The tragic turn of events contrasts starkly with the optimistic initiative set forth by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On September 17 of the previous year, in an endeavour to revive the extinct cheetah population in India, he released eight cheetahs—comprising five females and three males—from Namibia into Kuno National Park. This monumental event aimed to reestablish the cheetah’s presence within the Indian ecosystem. Furthermore, an additional 12 cheetahs were brought from South Africa in February this year, bolstering the collective effort to rejuvenate this endangered species.
However, this ambition has faced disheartening setbacks. Earlier this month, on August 1, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) conveyed to the Supreme Court its identification of potential sites in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for cheetah reintroduction. The NTCA’s provisional findings suggest that the fatalities in question stem from natural causes rather than unnatural factors like poaching, snaring, poisoning, road accidents, or electrocution. The Supreme Court had previously expressed its concerns about the cheetah deaths in Kuno National Park and urged the authorities to take proactive measures to address the issue.
The Madhya Pradesh Forest Department has now intensified its vigilance and monitoring of cheetah health following these recurring fatalities. Tragically, apart from the most recent loss, the past few months have witnessed a grim series of cheetah deaths. Since March of this year, the park has mourned the demise of five adult cheetahs and three cubs within the Sheopur district.
This sequence of tragedies underscores the delicate balance between conservation efforts and safeguarding the lives of these remarkable creatures. As conservationists strive to reintroduce cheetahs to their native habitat, the challenges of adapting to their new environment, health concerns, and preserving their existence are evident.
As the investigations into these cheetah deaths continue, scientists, conservationists, and the authorities are working in tandem to uncover the reasons behind these unfortunate occurrences and to ensure a brighter future for cheetahs within the Indian wilderness.