New Delhi: On Wednesday, July 26, the Madhya Pradesh forest department announced that two more cheetahs have been captured and brought back to enclosures in Kuno National Park.
The animals are among the several that were released in the wild in the park as part of Project Cheetah – India’s intercontinental cheetah translocation programme – and are being brought back for health checks following fears of infections caused by radio collars.
Prabhas and Veera are ‘healthy’
Male cheetah Prabhas and female Veera were captured from the wild in Kuno and brought back to enclosures in the park on July 25, the forest department announced in a tweet. The animals are healthy, according to the principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) Aseem Srivastava. The animals will be kept in the enclosures until their next health check, he said.
This leaves two cheetahs in the wild in Kuno, which have not undergone health checks yet: Nirva and Dhatri. On July 24, a source had told The Wire that catching these free-ranging individuals was proving ‘difficult’.
Twenty African cheetahs arrived in Kuno from Namibia and South Africa in September last year and March this year, as part of Project Cheetah. Of these, five have died so far. Three cubs born in India have also died. The last two deaths – of adult males Tejas and Surya on July 11 and 14 – have courted controversy after experts said that moisture accumulation due to their radio collars caused wounds underneath the collars to be infected and that this brought on traumatic shock, and then death.