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Showing posts from September, 2022

A Cheetah By The Tail

 Cheetah  rescue operations after they stray  away from the  safe confines  of  congested  Kuno national park  have been reported   regularly in India  since  September 2022 when  the  maiden  batch of African cat landed in India  amidst much fanfare. But the latest visuals of yet another such action- this time in  a crowded Rajasthan village in Karauli district-put a question mark again  on the safety of the animal.   This cheetah had to be handled physically in order to prevent it from falling into a ravine as it cornered at the crest of the ravine after darting amid a gathering of an huge crowd nearby. Pawan's Life Was At Risk  Rajasthan forest  department officials alerted Kuno  National Park authorities  about the cheetah leading them to a rescue operation. Pawan, the male cheetah had wandered into Rajasthan through Chambal river bank and was spotted by the local villagers who in turn informed the  local authorities. “Male cheetah Pavan was rescued from Karauli district in Raj

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

Cheetah in Kuno National Park, Real Challenge Begins Now

Midst controversies ,concerns and cacophony of TV coverage, cheetahs reached Kuno national park . This fastest animal will remain confined within  the four walls of a small enclosure before they are released in another – a bigger one about 5 sq kms. After spending almost two months in these enclosures, the animals are likely to be released in open - about 748 square km area Kuno National Park. Is there enough open grassland for cheetah to run , chase and kill, especially a prey like spotted deer. Cheetah ,in fact, is expected to “ adapt”  the new conditions faster than its running speed  and  the park management  has a challenge to “ minimize the damage.” Prime minister Narendra Modi  while releasing the animal said, “ with cheetahs,  the grassland  ecosystem will be restored and biodiversity will increase”.   Cheetah's Chase & Space Crunch  Conservationists in India still believe that there is a space crunch for cheetahs in Kuno as compared to 15000 sq km and 20,000 sq kms and

Monsoon Magic of Kanha National Park Meadows

World famous Kanha National Park   has achieved another milestone. Population of vulnerable Barasingha, the hard-ground swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii branderi) has crossed the 1000 mark recently . Kanha may be known for tiger and its conservation work; the park is credited with persistent protection work  for the vulnerable deer on the brink. Barasingha is also the state animal of Madhya Pradesh, the state known for housing the maximum number of tigers. Kanha is the only place in the world to see the magnificent hard-ground swamp deer in the wild in all its glory.  Kahna Meadows Come Alive  Though the swamp deer keep the jungle alive with their activities throughout the year,  they are very active from winters to monsoon . When the national parks are closed down for monsoon,  the  frontline staff of Kanha  face the challenge of not only  protecting tigers by patrolling the jungle but also   look after Barasingha as monsoon is the breeding period of this elusive and shy animal. The gr

7000 Cheetahs , 700 Lions: A Tale Of Misplaced Priority

  A cheetah versus lion debate goes on  amidst cheetah translocation to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. There are little over 7000 cheetahs spread across the  continent of Africa in the reserves and most of them are double or triple or even more to the size of national parks of India. In contradiction, there are barely about 700 Asiatic lions found only in India that too in one region of its one state only -Gujarat .It’s like putting all your eggs in one basket. For a variety of reasons including scientific, African cheetah managers find it difficult to manage the cat's popultion.Now they are are being translocated to different countries, like  India, and even within Africa. Referring to cheetah project, Ravi Chellam , a very senior conservationist in India has commented ,” how can African priority has become Indian priority”.    Cheetah  And Contraceptives Professor Adrian Tordiffe, a veteran veterinarian from Pretoria University and a key man in cheetah translocation proje

South African Cheetahs to Arrive Kuno National Park in October

  After the release of 8 cheetahs from Namibia on September 17 in Kuno National Park (KNP) of Madhya Pradesh, South Africa will send an additional 12 cheetahs to India in October. More and more cheetahs will continue to be airlifted to India in the coming years till the “genetically viable population” of the spotted cat is not established.  Cheetah Top Up To Continue To Create Genetically Viable Population  Though an MoU is yet to be signed with South Africa, it is likely to be done soon. Recently a team of South African officials visited Kuno to take   first hand information.   Among others, the team comprised scientific co-ordinator, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Michele Pfab, deputy director CITES Policy Development & Implementation at department of Environmental Affairs, Mpho Tjiane , Policy Analyst at the department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, Dzunisani Makhubele. The team is likely to submit its report soon and it would be followed by translocati

Namibian Cheetahs To Fly To Kuno National Park On September 17

 Barely a week after the forest minister of Madhya Pradesh – soon after he returned from South Africa-announced that cheetahs would reach India in November, the chief minister of the state   declared that the fastest animal on land will reach faster- on September 17. The project cheetah- translocation had missed multiple unofficial deadlines due to factors ranging from the presence of leopards in cheetah enclosures to diplomatic formalities. Interestingly, the Union ministry of forest, environment and climate change that has been handling the project is still tightlipped. Instead, the centre chose Madhya Pradesh to reveal the date. Eight cheetahs are likely be airlifted from Namibia for first phase of translocation on September 17.Namibia had signed an MoU with India on July 20. Why MoEFCC Tightlipped Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh where Kuno Palpur national Park (KPNP)  is located, announced dramatically  before the cabinet meeting on September 6 that , “ 

Jungle Book Comes Alive in Pench Tiger Reserve

Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book seems to have come alive in Pench tiger reserve . Another black leopard , about a year old  cub, is being sighted almost on regular basis in the buffer zone of the national park also known as Mowgli land , immortalized by the Kipling’s creation of the   characters in the famous book set up in the  landscape  spread across Seeonee ( Seoni district) of Madhya Pradesh. Bagheera, a fictional black -leopard -character in the Kipling book, is Mowgli's intelligent guardian. Bagheera On The Move The melanistic Indian leopard was a friend, protector and mentor to the "man-cub" Mowgli. The word bagheera  is a Hindi term for panther or leopard, although the root word bagh means tiger. This year during the monsoon months of August and September,  a black leopard cub was spotted . Rahul Upadhyaya , a forest ranger, told a news agency ,"The black panther has been spotted after a gap of two years. Since the last few days, tourists have spotted the

Cheetah Safari: Kuno National Park Awaits South African Green Signal

  All eyes are on a South African delegation visiting Kuno Palpur National Park (KPNP)  to finalize the cheetah translocation project surrounded by controversies and also the concerns raised by the conservationists. This in fact alerted the South African government which decided to postpone the signing of MoU . Though  the government  has always been tightlipped over any date for cheetah translocation,   hectict attempts were made to  implement the  project by August 15 .The government of India decided to   introduce cheetahs in Kuno earmarked earlier as a second home for Asiatic lions. About 700 such lions are found only in the Saurashtra region of the western Indian state of Gujarat.  S African Delegation In Kuno  More than one and half months ago, as many as 12 cheetahs were already quarantined in a private reserve of South Africa and were ready to be dispatched for Kuno . But the delay in signing of a formal MoU between the two nations also delayed the airlifting of the animals. “