In a devastating setback, the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh records its 10th cheetah fatality since 2022, as Namibian cheetah Shaurya succumbs to unknown causes.
New Delhi, January 17, 2024 – In a grim turn of events, the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh witnessed yet another tragic loss as a Namibian cheetah named Shaurya breathed its last on January 16, 2024, around 3:17 PM. This marks the 10th cheetah death since their much-anticipated reintroduction to India in 2022.
Freddy, a seven-year-old male cat translocated from Namibia in September 2022, met an untimely demise just hours after being tranquilized for observation. The wild-born cheetah, now named Shaurya, had quickly adapted to hunting in India after its release from quarantine last year. Despite efforts to revive Shaurya, complications arose, leaving wildlife officials grappling for answers as the post-mortem investigation unfolds.
The tracking team noticed concerning signs around 11 AM when Shaurya displayed incoordination and a staggering gait. Promptly tranquilized, the cheetah was examined and weakness was identified. Despite efforts to revive the majestic creature, complications arose post-revival, leaving the animal unresponsive to CPR. The exact cause of death remains unknown, pending a post-mortem examination, as stated in the official release by the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Director, Lion Project.
This disheartening incident follows the demise of the ninth cheetah reported on August 2 of the previous year. In a parliamentary revelation, the government attributed the last two deaths to infections caused by insects during the monsoon season.
The reintroduction of cheetahs to India began in 2022, with a total of 20 adult big cats imported in two batches from Namibia (2022) and South Africa (2023). The initiative, kicked off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 17, aimed to re-establish a cheetah population in the country. However, the project has faced setbacks, with seven adult cheetahs and three cubs succumbing to various infections within the short span of five months, ending in August last year.
The alarming number of deaths prompted concerns that reached the Supreme Court last year. However, the apex court found no grounds to question the central government’s efforts to reintroduce cheetahs into India. As the nation mourns the loss of yet another magnificent creature, questions linger about the causes behind these recurring fatalities and the sustainability of the ambitious cheetah reintroduction program.