The radio collars of six cheetahs at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh have been removed for their “health examination” by veterinarians from the KNP and experts from Namibia and South Africa, officials said in a report by PTI.
It may be recalled that five adult cheetahs and three cubs have died at the KNP in Sheopur district since March this year.
A total of 11 cheetahs – six male and five female – are currently inside the “boma” (enclosure), an official said.
“So far, the radio collars of six cheetahs have been removed by KNP veterinarians and experts from Namibia and South Africa on the ground of health examination,” the official said.
The cheetahs whose radio collars have been removed are identified as Gourav, Shourya, Pavan, Pavak, Asha and Dheera, the official said, adding “the condition of all these cheetahs is healthy.” An official release issued on Saturday also said, “For the purpose of health examination by the veterinary team of Kuno along with experts from Namibia and South Africa, radio collars of six cheetahs have been removed.” Madhya Pradesh’s chief wildlife warden Aseem Shrivastava did not elaborate on the reasons behind the health examination of the felines.
Under the Project Cheetah, a total of 20 radio-collared animals were imported from Namibia and South Africa to the KNP and later four cubs were born to Namibian cheetah ‘Jwala’. Out of these 24 felines, eight including three cubs have died.
On July 16, the environment ministry said five out of the 20 adult cheetahs brought from Namibia and South Africa died due to natural causes and media reports attributing the deaths to factors like radio collars were based on “speculation and hearsay without scientific evidence”.
The ministry also said several steps have been planned to support the cheetah project, including the establishment of a Cheetah Research Center with facilities for rescue, rehabilitation, capacity building, and interpretation.
On July 20, the Supreme Court said the death of eight cheetahs in the KNP in less than one year doesn’t present a “good picture”, and asked the Centre to not make it a prestige issue and explore the possibility of shifting the animals to different sanctuaries.