Madhya Pradesh: Kuno students cheer on the cheetahs

The sanctuary lies well beyond the limits of the populated areas, enclosed with towering walls on all sides

Aditi AlurkarUpdated: Saturday, September 17, 2022, 01:31 PM IST
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Prateek Kumar/Unsplash

The students of the Sheopur district spent this weekend differently. The otherwise silent area bustled with commotion today, as 3 male and 5 female cheetahs made a grand entrance alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Eight cheetahs were brought from Namibia into Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park (KNP) on the morning of September 17, to rehabilitate the big cat.

The eight African cheetahs are to be held in a quarantined facility for a month before being released into the enclosed deciduous forest. The news of a foreign animal has the little children around the forest excited. “No one is scared or apprehensive after this decision, the students are very excited about the news,” said Rakesh Kumar Gupta, the Head Master of Kuno Boys Primary School.

The sanctuary lies well beyond the limits of the populated areas, enclosed with towering walls on all sides.

“There is no reason for the faculty or students to be on their toes. Cases of human-animal conflict are very rare. Animal attacks happen only when people enter the forest for firewood,” said Prateek Kumar Patidar, the Director of Kuno School of Nursing, which lies a few kilometers away from the wildlife reserve.

Prateek Kumar Patidar

“Over the seven years I spent here, I have Kuno change a lot. Back then the town grew eerier as the sun began to set, we were too scared to fall asleep. Now the area has developed over time and the highway keeps everything busy,” shared the director.

Prateek Kumar Patidar

Two tribal villages surrounding the sanctuary have been relocated for the arrival of cheetahs according to Prateek Kumar. The other population lies nearly 20 kilometers away, making the cats an attraction for the locals over the apprehension.

“We are very excited to hear about the cheetahs!” said Lokesh Kumar, a student of the Kuno College. “Plans to go see the African cat are already underway! The younger students are puzzled as to what is going on; they are just excited to see the commotion!”

Prateek Kumar Patidar

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