Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The Supreme Court on Monday expressed satisfaction with the Centre's effort on the cheetah issue and noted the steps taken by the Government after deaths of Cheetahs at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.
A bench of justices BR Gavai, PS Narasimha, and Prashant Kumar Mishra disposed of the application relating to Cheetah's death after taking note of the submission made by the government. Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the government, told the top court that some of the media reports are not accurate on the death report of Cheetah.
ASG Bhati also told the court some of the achievements of translocation that happened directly to the wild, including a female cheetah giving birth to four cubs.
She also apprised the court about the preparation and said that the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has done a fine job. Responding to the court's query about the deaths of Cheetahs, ASG Bhati said that some may have died due to dehydration.
She said that the project is progressing. The Centre also said that this is the first of its kind project and will be taken care of. The Court also noted that an expert panel has been constituted to look after the translocation of Cheetahs.
The Court said that it has no hesitation in disbelieving the fact that an expert was not consulted, given that this is an issue requiring domain expertise and falling within the realm of the executive.
Ealier, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has told the Supreme Court that they have identified potential sites in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for Cheetah introduction, adding that the diagnosis of mortality events points towards natural causes and none of the Cheetahs has died due to unnatural reasons.
NTCA apprised the top court that the provisional diagnosis of mortality events points towards natural causes and none of the Cheetahs died due to unnatural reasons such as poaching, snaring, poisoning, road hits, electrocution etc.
In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, NTCA submitted that as per the Action Plan, Kuno National Park, Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh and Shahgarh Bulge, Bhainsrorgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and enclosure of Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan are the potential sites identified for Cheetah introduction.
On February 18 this year, twelve cheetahs from South Africa were brought to Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park after South Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the re-introduction of Cheetahs in India to establish a viable cheetah population in the Asian country.
Earlier, eight cheetahs brought from Namibia were released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Kuno National Park on the occasion of his birthday on September 17, 2022. One Cheetah died due to illness recently.
The MoU on the reintroduction of cheetahs to India facilitates cooperation between the parties to establish a viable and secure cheetah population in India, promotes conservation, and ensures that expertise is shared and exchanged and capacity is built to promote cheetah conservation.
Notably, a Cheetah named Dhatri (Tiblisi) died at the national park this week on Wednesday, while another big cat, named Suraj, died last month on July 14. With these, the total number of deaths of Cheetahs at Kuno Park rose to nine, including the death of three cheetah cubs.