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Experts Anxious Till Cheetahs Adapt Kuno National Park, Tourism Not Priority

  International cheetah experts are closely monitoring the movements of 8 spotted cats released on September 17 in Kuno National Park of central India state of Madhya Pradesh. Cheetahs are quarantined for a month and only trained Namibian handlers are allowed to “take care” of the  fastest land animal housed in different small enclosures. The animals are watched from machaans –  watch tower situated about “100 meters away”. Amidst continuing negative media reports on the success of the translocation project, the biggest concern of the Union ministry of forest, environment and climate change (MoEFC&C)   is adaptation  of new environs. “Let's see how soon the cheetahs adapt Kuno”.   Indian Officials Optimistic   Cheetahs are housed in smaller enclosures, the one shown on televisions sets when PM Narendra Modi released them on his birthday on September 17. After one month, they are likely to be released in a bigger enclosure. In another one month or so, they will be released in a

Death of a Superstar Highlights Signifiance of Tiger Corridors


A superstar-tiger of Panna National Park popularly known as Hira was poached. Code named 234-31,Hira was about 2 years of age and was perhaps headed towards Ranipur wildlifesanctuary in Chitrakoot Uttar Pradesh when he was electrocuted and de-skinned brutally by the poachers. For thousands of tourists and wildlife photographers,Hira along with his sibling Panna assumed a status of superstars because of thefrequent sightings and the photo opportunities they provided to the visitors of Akola wildlife tourist zone in the buffer area of the park.  They were born in November 2019 to Tigress P234 in her third litter. Panna,  the sibling of Hira, is still entertaining  the tourists. 

Tiger Unsafe Outside Protected Area

As Hira was radio collared, his whereabouts were known tothe forest department. But tigers are not monitored on an hourly or day to daybasis. After leaving the Akola zone on July 24 , Hira remained in Panna’s  north division forest for about a month. Laterhe entered the jungles of the adjoining Satna and continued moving. He was found dead about 90 to 100 kms away from the Akola zone.   Expertsbelieve that   in the absence of a jungle corridor, the tigermovement was not smooth. “ This is the reason why most of the tigers are poached or electrocuted when they move out from protected areas. 

Also read: Photo Ops Over, Tigers Leave the Fans

This incident has once again highlighted the importance of tiger corridors, especially in Panna landscape where a river linking project and proposed diamond mining have threatened the jungles and  its tigers.”Hira’s last satellite location and GPS readings were registered on October 13. “After this the collar stopped sending the location and we thought it might have developed some technical problem. When it did not send signals for 3 to 4 days,   an alert was sounded for the officials of Satna”. 

Department officials said that the radio collar generally survives for 6 to 7 months and the one around his neck was about 9 to 10 months old.  No one could say with certainty about the destination of the tiger, but the route undertaken by him would have led him to  Ranipur wildlife sanctuary near Chitrakoot, a jungle  in Uttar Pradesh known for sheltering the tigers dispersing from  Panna in the past also.

Professional Poachers  

Perhaps, a handiworkof poachers, very active in Satna and Katni – the two districts close to Panna and Bandhavgarh National Parks, the tiger was killed brutally.  “After poaching, the body was disposed off ina nearby water body. The radio collar was also thrown.”  

Also read: Avni's killing: Core Issue of Tiger Corridors Lost in Oblivion

Experts believe that “only those whounderstand the value of the tiger skin   can de-skin the animal. Had it been the caseof accidental electrocution, the whole body would have been disposed off.” Fieldstaff of the forest department spotted the radio collar and it was only then the death of Hira was confirmed. Three persons were also arrested. But department sources said that there is more than meets the eye and the poaching case requires a thorough investigation. The incident should also  be a wake up call for the department as it shows the active presence of poachers  ahead of the favourable poaching period of November to January. 
Cover Pic: Representational Image


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