Kuno cheetah deaths not alarming, NTCA tells Supreme Court
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has told the Supreme Court that none of the cheetahs in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park had died due to unnatural reasons such as poaching, snaring, poisoning, road hits, electrocution, etc.
The affidavit filed by the Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change said that “the NTCA today has no reason to believe that the mortalities were caused on account of any inherent unsuitability at the Kuno” and “cheetahs, in general, have very low survival rates, i.e., less than 50 percent in adults in non-introduced populations.”
Further, the additional reply stated that in the case of the introduced population, the survival rates may lead to about 10 percent survival in cubs.
The Union government submitted that the veterinary care, day-to-day management and monitoring, and other aspects relating to ecology and behaviour of cheetahs are being done by NTCA in consultation with internationally experienced experts.
On July 20, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to take some positive steps over the death of eight cheetahs at Kuno in a span of four months and called for an updated status report on the matter.
“Two more deaths last week. Why is this becoming a prestige issue? Please take some positive steps,” said a bench headed by Justice B R Gavai and comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Prashant Kumar Mishra.
The bench had suggested the government consider if cheetahs could be relocated to other locations, like Jawai National Park in Rajasthan.
The NTCA told the Supreme Court, after consulting experts, that the Mukundra Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan is not suited to accommodate cheetahs as there were five tiger deaths/ disappearances in 2020 within a very short span of time.
The tiger reserve has a large number of feral cattle carrying a significant amount of parasitic load which can be detrimental to the survival chances to the cheetahs, it added.
Five adult cheetahs among the 20 brought into Kuno from Africa and three of the four cubs born in Kuno have died since March.
Wildlife experts suspect that the two most recently-deceased male cheetahs — Tejas and Suraj — suffered maggot infections due to their radio collars (fitted with GPS) and had similar organ damage.
As per experts, while the radio collar may not be a fatal issue, it can be a contributing factor and it must be addressed. Notably, every cheetah in Kuno is fitted with an African Wildlife Tracking (AWT) collar that provides location during movement and their behavior.
A total of 20 cheetahs were introduced at Kuno National Park in two phases. In the first phase, eight cheetahs were translocated from Namibia and they were released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 17 last year. In the second phase, 12 cheetahs were brought from South Africa on February 18.
[With Inputs from IANS]
PGurus is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with all the latest news and views
For all the latest updates, download PGurus App.
- SC issues notice to DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin over his ‘Sanatan Dharma’ remarks - September 22, 2023
- Uttar Pradesh: Railway Protection Force rescues 8 children from trafficker - September 22, 2023
- 290 Ram Stambhs to be installed along route that Lord Ram took during his exile - September 22, 2023