Kuno sanctuary set for cheetah                           re-introduction with least investment

Indore: Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh is all set and ready for re-introduction of Cheetah with the least investments required, concluded the assessment report by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) after assessing six shortlisted sites in the country.

“For free ranging cheetah that would serve as a flagship and also perform their ecological role in a restored savannah-woodland system, clearly 1) Kuno National ParkSheopur Forest landscape and 2) Gandhi Sagar-Chittorgarh-Bhainsrodgarh Wild Life Sanctuary (WLS) with parts of Mukundara TR landscape adequately meet the criteria,” said the report.

It added that of these two, Kuno National Park is ready with the least investments required for reintroduction, while the Gandhi Sagar- Bhainsrodgarh landscape requires concurrence from the governments of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and investments in terms of prey supplementation and protection

The assessed sites assessed in Rajasthan were: Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve; Shergarh WLS; and Gandhi Sagar WLS. In Madhya Pradesh, Kuno National Park; Madhav National Park; and Nauradehi WLS were accessed.

Further, the report said, “Nauradehi WLS has very high potential initially for housing a fenced population and later of becoming a free ranging population as well. Investments required here were for fencing and prey restoration.”

//To bring Cheetah, Government of Madhya Pradesh has to allocate…

a) Territorial Neemuch and Mandsaur Division ranges adjoining Gandhi Sagar WLS as buffer and part of the larger Cheetah conservation landscape

b) Prey augmentation in Gandhi Sagar WLS

c) Fencing part of Nauradehi WLS and prey augmentation

Based on the response from the two states, further actions will be taken up by WII and NTCA for the reintroduction of cheetah in India, said the report.

Further, it said that permission for work on assessment of prey is being sought for Mukundara TR, Kuno NP and Nauradehi WLS from the Chief Wildlife Wardens of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

//Kuno National Park: monitored since 2006, apt for lion & cheetah

It has been regularly monitored since 2006 for lion reintroduction and it is due to the efforts of forest dept on rehabilitation of villages from within the core area, and declaration of National Park status, that Kuno has shown remarkable recovery in its habitat, prey abundance and reduction of human impacts.

Due to delays in lion reintroduction the site was considered for cheetah reintroduction in 2010. However, Supreme Court in its order on the reintroduction of the Asiatic Lion in Kuno in 2013, also ruled against the reintroduction of the cheetah in Kuno.

Subsequent, to affidavits filed by NTCA explaining that cheetah reintroduction would not impact lion reintroductions in any adverse manner, SC has permitted cheetah introduction on an “experimental basis in a careful chosen habitat and nurtured and watched to see whether it can adapt to the Indian conditions”

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