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Namibian Cheetah Sasha Dies In Kuno National Park

Sasha, one of the 8 cheetahs translocated from Namibia in September last year and released in Kuno national park , died on March 27. After almost two months’ of illness, the five year old female cheetah died in the morning.  Addditional chief secretary forest department JS Kansotia confirmed this.  Sasha was diagnosed with hepatorenal, a kidney and liver-related infection, in the last week of January, four months after she was brought to Kuno in September 2022.  Sasha was  brought up in captivity in Namibia after she was picked up in malnourished  condition in a farm field there . Knowing her health conditions, Indian officials had even objected to her translocation as they apprehended that she might not last in the wild. Renal Complications  On January 23 , the female cheetah  had showed signs of fatigue and weakness, after which she was tranquilised and shifted to the quarantine enclosure for treatment. “Two days after medicines had been injected intravenously, the cheetah was showin

Namibian Cheetahs To Fly To Kuno National Park On September 17

Cheetahs reaching Kuno

 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

Kuno National park

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 , “  prime minister Narendra Modi will release  cheetahs in Kuno on  his birthday on September 17.”  However, he did not divulge more details . Soon the breaking news went viral across the media  that had been speculating  the  cheetah release dates  for long. Chouhan’s announcement did surprise all and sundry, especially   after his forest minister’s  recent statement. 

Also readLion ,Cheetah  And The Politics Of Conservation

Though there were hectic preparations going on in and around Kuno for the past few days, especially the construction of a number of helipads, politicians and officials were tight lipped. The cheetahs were scheduled to have been brought on August 15 when the Prime Minister Modi was supposed to have announced the translocation. However, it did not happen.  The chief minister’s announcement was also surprising because Madhya Pradesh was never involved in the translocation project as it was being handled by the centre. Though Kuno is located in MP, the state was not even part of the ceremony of signing of the MoU with Namibia.  The project was always close to the prime minister.

" Waste of Taxprayers" 

Cheetahs to reach Kuno

New Delhi’s “vanity project” has been involved in controversies beginning a Supreme Court order in 2013 to ensure lion translocation in Kuno Palpur national park to the questions raised by wildlife scientists and biologists over the conservation value of the project. Critics like Ravi Chellam, a veteran in wildlife research, education and conservation   had warned, “The cheetah introduction plan has not been mentioned in the National Wildlife Action Plan including the current plan for the period 2017-2031, while the translocation of lions has been a national priority since the 1950s.”  

Also readDelay In Cheetah Translocation, Indian Bureaucrats in Tizzy

" Environmentalist and author, Valmik Thapar has even termed the project as “a waste of taxpayers’ money.” In an interview with The Times of India, he had said, “The African cheetah can never be introduced into the wilds of India. We don’t have any habitat to ensure a natural reintroduction. We do not have the prey species or the space for the cheetahs to grow in numbers.” He also said, “I think you can reintroduce cheetahs in a fenced enclosure of 100-200 sq km with an expenditure of millions of dollars, because the fence has to be four metres high. You can make sure that they are hand-fed or baited. And you can have people coming in to watch the animals, as in a drive-in enclosure. But reintroducing it in the wild is impossible.”


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