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Showing posts from July, 2023

For the First Time the Official Tale of Kuno Cheetahs

  Ahead of the first anniversary of the  controvertial cheetah project  and the release of African cheetahs in  Kuno national park ,  interesting observations have been shared by the  director of the park where   14 cheetahs await re-release in the wild. They were caught   and brought back to bomas following 6 cheetah deaths after septicemia caused by abrasion from   satellite collars.   Uttam Kumar Sharma , the park director has dwelt in detail on cheetah movements and their exploration of the landscape , their interaction with each other and the  efforts  made by the  park management to  monitor the  animals  round the clock as he tried to hammer home a point- African cheetahs are adapting fast in India.  Asha: The Hope   Based upon his observations, Sharma has released newsletters   revolving around   two cheetah coalitions -Gaurav-Shaurya (Rockstars) and Agni-Vayu (White walkers), Asha, the female cheetah from Namibia and  Jwala and her Indian born cubs. The story  of the two coali

Tiger Reserves In Waiting : Tale of Mhadei and Ratapani Sanctuaries

   On July 24, the Goa bench of Bombay High Court took the help of an ancient Indian epic Mahabharata to explain  the state government the importance of  the tiger . “If there is no forest, then the tiger gets killed; if there is no tiger, then the forest gets destroyed. Hence, the tiger protects the forest, and the forest guards the tiger!” The court cited the epic  while directing the government to notify the 208 sq. km Mhadei wildlife sanctuary and its surrounding areas as a tiger reserve, and issue a notification within three months.  But the state government of this popular tourist destination has decided to challenge it in the Supreme Court. Over 1200 kms away from Goa, Ratapani sanctuary  in Madhya Pradesh has been awaiting  tiger reserve status for the last one and half decade.  In 2022, six tigers were recorded in Goa, an important tiger corridor in the Western Ghats where the big cat numbers are on decline. Against the six tigers in Goa, there are more than 45 in Ratapani, a

Bringing African Cheetahs to India a Wrong Decision ?

 India’s cheetah project has derailed as it faces an unprecedented crisis, not  even anticipated  by the cheetah managers- neither from Africa nor India. Though the project- wrapped in secrecy-  envisioned a high mortality of cheetah , the present cause of deaths did not find any mention in the Cheetah Action Plan. There are more issues including  politics, bureaucratic hurdles and red tapism  responsible for the present predicament and none of them have any link with wildlife and environment. Amidst all this,  officials and experts are trying hard to get the project back on tracks. Conservation Project or Political Minefield ? Outbursts of an eminent South African veterinarian will explain his frustration and the present state of affairs in   managing the cheetahs in Kuno national park. Dr Adrian Tordiffe who is an eminent veterinarian from South Africa and is one of the five consulting panelists of international Cheetah experts for advice -as and when required. But, it seems, Tordiff

Plans Begin To Capture All Cheetahs To Remove Collars Amidst MoEFC&C Denial

     In a huge embarrassment to   senior  members of  the Steering Committee for Cheetah project and  international experts including Laurie Marker of Cheetah Conservation Fund(CCF), one of the biggest   names in cheetah conservation in the world, the Union ministry of Environment forest and climate change (MoEFC&C)  denied cheetah deaths due to collar wounds in Kuno national park . On Saturday- July 15 – Namibia based Laurie Marker and steering committee members including its head Dr Rajesh Gopal had confirmed the deaths due to collar wounds.  Despite Dnial, Preps On To Cpture Cheetahs The MoEFC&C denial was issued when the officials were preparing to capture cheetahs to remove their collars   to prevent further casualties.Rattled by the 5 cheetah deaths including the two back to back  losses in the last three days, the MoEFC&C  issued a three page press release on Sunday afternoon. It said, “As per the preliminary analysis by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA),

Not Leopards, A Different 'Predator' is Killing Kuno Cheetahs

  When the cheetah project was planned ,   the presence of a large number of leopards  in Kuno national park was  considered as the biggest threat to the  smaller spotted cats. But an altogether 'new predator'- unknown and unheard of- is stalking the African cheetahs in Kuno killing two cheetahs. Namibia to South Africa to Delhi, cheetah managers have expressed grave concern. It is a 400  gram satellite collar killing the cheetahs. The collars were placed around their neck to keep a track of the cheetahs translocated from the two African countries. African experts have recommended close monitoring of the cheetahs still in the enclosures in Kuno and replace them with  better collars.  Collars Inflict Wounds Two cheetahs- first Tejas in an enclosure and then Suraj   in the open forest- died. Injuries over their neck were the common factor in both the cases.  After initial confusion over the injuries, experts realized the death was caused by septicemia resulting from the radio col

Back to Back Cheetah Deaths in Kuno: South African Expert Unhappy Over Communication Gap

 Close on the heels of the death of Tejas, the male cheetah, another cheetah died in Kuno national park on Friday  ( July 14) .  This is the first cheetah casualty in the open forest of Kuno where Suraj , the sub- adult who died , was released on June 25. Suraj’s body carried injury marks, perhaps, the result of a fight with some carnivore. The male cheetah died two days after Tejas whose body was found in his enclosure. Besides, 3 cheetah cubs born in captivity had also died taking the cheetah  death toll to 8. Back to back cheetah deaths seem to have ratteled the officials in Delhi leading to lack of communication  between them and  their counterparts in South African resulting into non-participation of an important  South African member of Cheetah Project Steering Committee in an important meeting on July 14.        First Death In Open Forest Though high mortality of cheetahs are expected in the project, eight deaths in a span of about 4 months have become a cause of concern for tho