28 Nov 2023

Madhya Pradesh: Kuno cheetahs could be released in open forest soon

Preparations are afoot for the release of cheetahs into the open forest at Kuno National Park in Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh, aligning with ongoing efforts to resettle these majestic cats in India. The plan involves releasing the cheetahs from enclosures into the open forest, with an expected timeline for this release set for the near future, potentially in December. Currently all the cheetahs are in big enclosures.

Last year, on his birthday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi facilitated the release of cheetahs from Namibia into Kuno National Park in the Sheopur district. Initially housed in enclosures, the cheetahs were later set free into the expansive forest. Unfortunately, several cheetahs succumbed to infection, leading to their relocation back into enclosures.

Currently, the remaining 14 cheetahs and one cub are housed in enclosures, and preparations are underway to release them into the open forest. The decision to release these cheetahs is contingent upon the deliberations of the steering committee of experts. 

Threat to cheetahs from tigers

Concerns about the potential threat to cheetahs from tigers, indicated by the presence of tiger pug marks in the area, are being addressed. Efforts to locate the tiger are ongoing, and the decision to release cheetahs into the forest will be made based on accurate information about the tiger's presence.

Officials responsible for the care of the cheetahs report that the animals in the enclosures are currently in good health. Previous issues arose when cheetahs, released into the forest with collar IDs around their necks, contracted infections, leading to fatalities. In response, all cheetahs were relocated to separate enclosures, received expert supervision, and underwent necessary treatments. Presently, they are reported to be in a healthy condition.

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