New Delhi: One more African cheetah died in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park (KNP) on Tuesday, July 11. This brings the total number of cheetahs that have died in India to seven in just the last three months.
The big cats have been brought to India from South Africa and Namibia as part of India’s ambitious Project Cheetah, which aims to introduce the African cheetah in some of central India’s grasslands that were once home to the Asiatic subspecies.
On the morning of July 11, the monitoring team – which conducts daily inspections of the cheetahs in captivity and observes any changes in behaviour, etc. – observed a wound just above the throat of the male cheetah Tejas. The animal was in the enclosure and was brought to KNP from South Africa in February this year. The monitoring team informed the veterinary doctors in Palpur. Upon inspection, the vets found the wound to be deep. The animal died at around 2 pm on July 11, as per a statement by the Madhya Pradesh forest department. A post-mortem will reveal the real cause of death, the statement added.
“Cheetah Tejas, aged around four years, died in KNP due to suspected infighting,” the principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) of wildlife and chief wildlife warden of MP, J.S. Chauhan, told the news agency PTI. The animal was in an enclosure at the time of the incident, he said.
Chauhan told the Free Press Journal that a female Namibian cheetah may have been the cause of the death of Tejas.
Tejas’s death brings the total number of cheetahs that died after Project Cheetah began to seven. Of these, three were cheetah cubs born to a female named Siyaya. The four others were adults.