Cheetahs Brought From Namibia Fit and Fine in Kuno National Park Quarantine; Task Force Meet on October 17 To Discuss ‘Acclimatisation’ Enclosure Release

Cheetahs Back in India: First Look of Big Cats From Namibia That Will Be Released Into Kuno National Park (Watch Video)

Sheopur, October 15: The eight cheetahs, shifted from Namibia to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park (KNP) almost a month ago, are “fantastic” and “frolicking” around by feasting on buffalo meat while in quarantine, forests officials said on Saturday.

The Task Force (TS), constituted by the Centre, will meet on October 17 when the spotted animals complete a month in their new home, to take a call on shifting them in the soft release enclosure-cum acclimatisation enclosure spread in an area little over five sq km, they said. Cheetahs Back in India After Seven Decades: What Are Major Differences Between a Cheetah, Leopard and Jaguar?

“We think in a month or two or more, the cheetah may be released in the wild,” officials added. The Task Force was set up to monitor the introduction of cheetahs in KNP and other designated areas, more than 70 years after the world’s fastest animal became extinct in India. Cheetah Back in India: Large Number of Trees Cut Down in Kuno National Park To Make Arrangements for PM Narendra Modi’s Visit With Guests During Big Cat’s Release? PIB Debunks Fake News.

“The Task Force will take a call on putting the cheetahs in the soft enclosure,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), JS Chauhan, confirmed to PTI on Saturday. Cheetah siblings Freddy and Alton, sisters Savannah and Sasha and Obaan, Asha, Cibili, and Saisa – are fantastic, Chauhan said.

“According to the Namibian cheetah expert in the KNP, the eight cheetahs – five females and three males- aged between 30 to 66 months are doing much better than the expectations of his country,” he added. KNP director Uttam Sharma said cheetahs were fine and fed buffalo meat under experts’ supervision.

According to some forest officials, Freddy and Alton, and sisters Savannah and Sasha, are seen frolicking around often in their quarantine enclosure. The two brothers and two sisters have been put in two bomas (enclosures) of around 50 x 30 metres, while the rest four cheetahs are quarantined separately in four bomas of around 25x 25 meters, officials said.

When contacted, Task Force member Abhilash Khandekar, also a member of the Madhya Pradesh State Wildlife Board, said cheetahs are good.

“I will not be able to attend the first task force meeting online due to my prior engagement, ”said Khandekar, the chairman of MP Cricket Association. He said he will be attending an important meeting related to cricket for which he will be travelling outside MP.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has constituted the TF with nine members on board for two years. Veterinarians and experts from India and Namibia are keeping a close watch on the cheetahs in the quarantine enclosure, officials said.

The cheetahs were released in the KNP by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 17. In his speech, the prime minister cautioned that cheetahs need time to acclimatise to their new habitat before people can see them in the wild.

“Cheetahs are our guests, we should give them a few months to make Kuno National Park their home,” he had said. The eight cheetahs were brought to KNP under the ambitious inter-continental translocation project.

The last cheetah in India died in 1947 in the Koriya district in present-day Chhattisgarh, which was earlier part of Madhya Pradesh, and the species was declared extinct from India in 1952.

The ‘African Cheetah Introduction Project in India’ was conceived in 2009. A plan to introduce the big cat in the KNP by November last year had suffered a setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The KNP, spread over an area of 750 sq km, is situated on the northern side of the Vindhya mountains. Besides, it has a buffer area of around 500 sq km.

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