New Delhi: The eighth cheetah has died at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.
The cheetah, named Suraj, was found dead by a patrolling team in the Park early in the morning of July 14, reported Times of India. The cause of death will be known only after the post-mortem is conducted, the report said. More details are awaited.
Officials at the Madhya Pradesh forest department were not reachable for comment when The Wire tried reaching out to them on July 14. This story will be updated if they respond.
The death of Suraj, a sub-adult male from South Africa, comes close on the heels of the death of Tejas just three days ago, on July 11.
On the morning of July 11, the monitoring team observed a wound just above the throat of the male cheetah. The animal, which was housed in the enclosure, died later in the afternoon that day, as per a statement by the Madhya Pradesh forest department.
The post-mortem showed that he was “internally weak” and was unable to recover from a “traumatic shock” after a violent fight with a female cheetah, per news reports.
Suraj is the eighth cheetah to die in Kuno, as part of Project Cheetah – India’s ambitious plan to introduce the African cheetah in some central Indian grassland habitats.
Asiatic cheetahs once roamed these grasslands, and the introduction effort, India has claimed, is aimed to conserve grassland systems in the country.
The project has faced numerous criticisms from conservationists and scientists.
One is that Project Cheetah diverts conservation funds that indigenous species could have benefited from.
Another is that the Cheetah Action Plan – Project Cheetah’s implementation template – doesn’t incorporate new research on cheetah home ranges and densities, and thus overestimates the carrying capacity of Kuno National Park.
However, scientists advising the government have said that available data from studies support the experimental reintroduction of cheetahs into India.
This article was first published by TheWire
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