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9th May 2023 (6 Topics)

Five more cheetahs to be released into wild at Kuno

Context

According to the Union Environment Ministry, five more cheetahs (three females and two males) would be released from the Kuno National Park (KNP) acclimatisation camps into "free-roaming conditions" before the monsoon rains arrive.

Key-highlights:

  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is the nodal body for Project Cheetah.
  • Twenty cheetahs have been brought from Namibia and South Africa since September 2022 to reintroduce them into Indian habitat.
  • Two of the animals have died, but the long-term plan is to gradually release the animals into the wild and keep adding more until a self-sustaining population is established.
  • Four of the cheetahs have already been released into the wild, but the remaining cheetahs will remain in the acclimatisation camps for the duration of the monsoon season.

Concern about space and prey

  • Independent experts have raised concerns that the cheetahs brought in from Africa have too little space and limited access to prey in the KNP.
  • The available space in the park is adequate for 21 cheetahs, but the actual number of animals that the reserve can accommodate can only be assessed after the animals are released and have established home ranges. There is no useful spatial ecology data for cheetahs in India yet.
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