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Prep Before Cheetahs Become Free Ranging In Kuno National Park

  When another male cheetah, Obaan,joined the two rock stars – Freddie and Elton -- in yet another bigger enclosure of Kuno national park on November 18, only five female cheetahs remained in smaller bomas in the park where they were released on September 17. Like the three males, the five female spotted cats will also be released soon in larger bomas to run and chase their prey to kill. India’s  wildlife authorities accompanied by the experts from the cheetah conservation fund (CCF) from Namibia   have been taking utmost care and caution  before the  cheetahs in Kuno are ultimately made “free -ranging” meaning released in open to move around the entire length and breadth of the park. “Free ranging cheetahs and their monitoring  will be like a grand finale of the Project Cheetah to be played in Kuno for a longer  period in the coming years'", said a senior official of the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFC&C).  Apprehensions, Concerns  on Chee
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Tiger In Town Near Corbett Reserve Shot Dead

                                    An injured tigress was shot dead in a busy market place near the world famous Corbett tiger reserve . Mystery shrouded the cold blooded killing of the big cat .Who killed the tiger- people of Marchula town where the tiger had strayed or the forest department personnel?  The animal could have been easily rescued by a team  of experts located few kms away from the spot.  10 Gun Shots And The Tigress Was Dead The tigress was spotted in the night  in the market of Marchula, a town dotted with  resorts and restaurants  catering to  tiger tourism. Though there was no one on the roads of Marchula market, people were heard shouting “ maro ”   “ maro ” ( shoot -shoot).   They were also heard shouting “ yeh kal walla hai” ( this is the same  as yesterday (sighting) ). This was followed by gunshots. A gun barrel was also seen coming out from the window of a white four-wheeler which was also charged by the tigress.  Eyewitnesses said  markets were closed and peo

Before Cheetah Came To Kuno,India Attempted To Clone Asiatic Species

  Two decades before cheetah translocation from Namibia to Kuno National Park , India’s efforts to clone Asiatic cheetah from Iran had failed after the western Asia country backtracked from the project.  Perhaps, it could have saved the species, believed to be on the brink of extinction. Now,only 12 Asian cheetahs are left in Iran and its government termed the situation as “extremely critical.” Compared to African cheetahs, its Asiatic cousin is smaller but has a thicker coat, a more powerful neck, and slender legs. Many experts believe that they could be faster than African species with longer legs, but this theory could not be confirmed in the absence of any test. The Project Cloning When cheetahs were released in Kuno, experts considered the presence of leopards as a threat to the cheetahs. But in 2003, the scientists of Hyderabad based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology ( CCMB) had planned a female leopard as a surrogate mother. However, the Iranians were not prepared to all

Cheetahs In Kuno Kill Another Deer But The Real Test Awaits

After Freddie and Elton, the two male cheetahs, made their first kill in Kuno National Park making national headlines, the two spotted cats killed another spotted deer sometime on November 8 evening. Moving around the one square km enclosure, the fastest  land animal got some space to sprint  and  recover from the long confinement in small bomas - first in Namibia and then in Kuno. Like a fitness test, the deer hunting is taking place  inside  a  one square km fenced enclosure facilitating the cheetahs to  catch the cheetal (spotted deer) herbivore and kill. But this is being termed as  "cheetah project on the right track". The real test of cheetahs will begin when they are finally released in the open forest in the coming months to compete  and face the  ferocious  leopards and  packs of the wild dogs of Kuno,  officials of the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFC&C) admit. Cheetahs Chase Deer Inside Enclosure The second kill in  Kuno's enc

Tiger Poaching On The Rise As The Cat Becomes Commodity

India may have claimed to have the highest number of tigers in the world; it also has the maximum number of poaching cases reported from its jungles. The country has 70 % or 2,967 of the global tiger population of 4500. The central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh with the biggest tiger population in the country seems to be the hottest poaching spot as a report revealed that it is leading the list of the states with high rate of tiger poaching. Poaching Crisis Deepens This is not the end of the bad news. Amidst  huge pressure on tiger habitat and increasing cases of  tiger -man conflict, poaching continues to be one of the biggest threats. In the last four years from 2018 to 2021, poaching cases have gone up by 21 % in India, reveals a report of TRAFFIC (South East Asia), a leading non-governmental organisation working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.Ifirst came across a TRAFFIC while working on m

Govt Pushes Railway Project: Western Ghats, Tiger & Elephant Corridors Under Threat

 A quarter century old railway project continues to pose a threat to the Western Ghats , one of the eight biodiversity “hottest hotspots” of the world. Like many other jungles of India, the Railways intend to cut a large number of trees as it proposes a 164.44 km Hubballi-Ankola railway project (HARP) through a dense  forest patch , also a corridor for two iconic species- the tiger and the elephant. In fact, not one but three elephant corridors will be impacted. In the times when climate change is a reality,   the governments- both the centre and the state- push the project preferring economics over environment.    Tiger Conservation Of Entire Western Ghats At Stake The railway project, conceived in 1998, is proposed to pass the forests between two major protected areas — Kali Tiger Reserve and Bedthi Conservation Reserve. More than 80% of the  railway line has to pass through the dense forest lands of the Western Ghats, and this entails the diversion of 595 hectares of prime forests w

Cheetahs In Kuno National Park : Future Tense !

Now a team of international scientists  and biologists have  questioned the  “incomplete”   cheetah action plan  with an unscientific   approach  relying on “  decade-old flawed  projections from Namibia”. Making a scathing attack on the translocation project of the iconic species in Kuno National Park , 8 scientists and conservationists write in an international journal that this may lead to “human –cheetah conflict. They “advised” to “prepare a revised science based” action plan. The Great Cheetah Divide The Cheetah Introduction Action Plan developed by the Wildlife Institute of India ( WII ) and the National Tiger Conservation Authority ( NTCA ) and of the Union ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFC&C). Many experts from Namibia and South Africa have supported the plan.  As controversy followed the cheetah translocation in Kuno national park, 8 cheetahs were released by the prime minister of India Narendra Modi on his birthday on September 17 this year. The

Urban Tigers In Bhopal Residential Areas, A wake-Up Call To Govt

A new tiger is likely to fill-up the space created by  the tiger captured in sprawling campus of  Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT) in the state capital of Bhopal located in the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Presence of the big cat in the regional engineering college created panic among the students who were asked to vacate the hostels and return only after October 30. Though everybody should have been relieved after the big cat was caught, the forest department realized that not one but two tigers were prowling the  campus. One of them is still roaming around somewhere near and may return soon. Catching the tiger is not the solution as the source population lives in nearby Ratapani sanctuary waiting for  upgradation of  its status to a tiger reserve for the last 14 years. Just do it, tigers of this sanctuary seems to be  telling the government.  Urban Tigers Creating Territory In Concrete Jungle     A full grown ferocious tiger identified as T-21421 was

Why Cheetahs in Kuno National Park Are Linked with International Ivory Trade ?

      Controversy on India’s alleged compromise on its stand against the ivory trade to facilitate cheetah translocation refuses to die . It started long before Namibian cheetahs landed in India and released in Kuno National Park on September 17. After the recent media reports on the issue, the Union environment ministry issued a denial.  It said “a news report on Namibia seeking India's support for lifting a UN ban on trade of ivory as part of the cheetah deal "largely relies on speculation, hearsay and not on facts". But knowledgeable sources stood to the "compromise" theory.  Let’s find out why the cheetah translocation issue is linked with elephant poaching and  internaional ivory trade.  Why Ivory Trade was Banned  Huge quantity of Ivory is stockpiled in Namibia along with some other African nations. The ivory was confiscated after poaching of elephants in several African countries. The number of wild elephants dropped dramatically across elephant range st

Shooting In Valmiki Tiger Reserve: Why More Tigers are Turning Into "Pests"

  Shooting  of a tiger in  Bihar's  only national park, Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR), shocked the nation earlier this month. It was also a cause of concern for the conservationists. This was another case of increasing man- tiger conflict as more tigers turned “pests” necessitating their elimination .  In the last three years, 125 people have died in the conflict with the cats. If I put this into perspective in the backdrop of increasing tiger population but decreasing forest cover and prey base outside the protected areas,the situation is alarming.   Huge Human Population Pressure on VTR In the VTR, where the young tiger of about 3 year of age was shot dead by special task force of Bihar police in a marathon hunting operation involving about 400 personnel, the number of tigers has gone up from 10 in 2006 to over50 in 2022. In the same period, anthropogenic or human pressure has also gone up manifold around the park and its buffer.  A recent study -   a ssessing forest health using

Controversies Chase Cheetahs In Kuno National Park

  Controversies involving cheetah translocation in Kuno national park refuse to die down. Amidst   government denial of   cheetah pregnancy reports in a section of media, experts have raised questions over “alleged negligence on the part of Cheetah Conservation Foundation (CCF) for its failure to detect the pregnancy”. But Dr Laurie Marker of the CCF has been quoted by Indian media that,” This is true (the pregnancy) , she may be pregnant. We cannot say for sure, but it is believed so, and this would be her first litter”. “This amounts to utter negligence”, says experts and India researchers.  “How could CCF put an animal at risk? If the cheetah  named Aasha, was pregnant, why  did they  put the  pregnant animal at risk by   putting  her under stress  first by  tranquilizing a number of times, a long journey from Namibia to India  under sedation  and  then release in new environs”.Eight cheetahs were flown  from Namibia and released into the national park by the prime minister Narend