Bhopal: Cheetah Project Completes One Year Scripting Many Happy, Sad Yarns

Bhopal: Cheetah Project Completes One Year Scripting Many Happy, Sad Yarns

The first year saw the birth of four cubs and death of nine cheetahs including six adults and three cubs.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Sunday, September 17, 2023, 01:10 AM IST
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Cheetah from Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh | FP Photo

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The internationally acclaimed Cheetah Project of Kuno is completing one year on Sunday. There were many highs and lows in the first year of the project since there were both elements of happiness and sadness. The first year saw the birth of four cubs and death of nine cheetahs including six adults and three cubs.

It was on the last birthday (on September 17, 2022) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that eight Namibian Cheetahs were released into the enclosures of Kuno. As PM arrived to release the cheetahs into the enclosures, Kuno shot into the national and international limelight. Later 12 more cheetahs were brought from South Africa to increase the strength of Cheetahs to 20.

Once they completed their quarantine period, the work of releasing cheetahs into the wild got kick-started in Kuno. These were the joyous moments to see cheetahs taking big leaps inside the open forest and trying to survive on their own.

Amidst these joyous moments, the project suffered a blow when female cheetah Sasha died in an enclosure due to renal infection on March 27. After few days of Sasha’s death, Siyaya (female cheetah) gave birth to four cubs inside the enclosure, bringing a wave of happiness.

Moreover, in a bid to explore, male cheetah Oban strayed out of Kuno and forest officials had to toil hard to bring him back to the jungle. Afterwards, female cheetah Asha strayed out of Kuno jungle. Male cheetah Pawan showed the quest of exploration and reached the border of Uttar Pradesh. He was tranquilised and brought back to Kuno.

The worst phase for the big cat was when three out of four cubs of Siyaya died one after another due to extreme heat on May 23. Siyaya and the lone surviving cub were immediately taken inside the enclosure for better care. The cub survived but faced rejection by Siyaya due to unknown reasons. This cub is being hand-raised and is the lone single ray of hope for the Cheetah Project so far.

The other setbacks were received when cheetahs like Suraj, Dhatri alias Tablishi, Uday and Tejas died at different intervals of time. The deaths of two last cheetahs allegedly due to collar infection forced the Kuno officials to bring all the free-roaming cheetahs inside the enclosure for their health check-ups. Moreover, people are interested to know when they would get the chance to see the cheetahs in the wild.

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