One more cheetah has been released into the wild at the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh's Sheopur district, taking the count to seven, an official said on May 29.
Neerva, a female cheetah from South Africa aged 3-4 years, was released into the wild from a larger enclosure at the KNP on May 28 evening, the national park's Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Prakash Kumar Verma said.
So far, seven cheetahs have been released into the free-range so far, while 10 are still housed in larger enclosures, he said.
The decision about the release of the remaining cheetahs into the wild will be taken by the steering committee constituted by the Centre. The committee members are scheduled to visit the KNP on May 30, the official said.
Eight Namibian cheetahs, comprising five females and three males, were brought to the KNP and released into special enclosures by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 17 last year as part of an ambitious reintroduction programme of the species.
Later, 12 cheetahs — seven males and five females — were brought to the national park from South Africa on February 18 this year.
Cheetah Jwala, earlier known as Siyaya, who was translocated from Namibia, gave birth to four cubs at the KNP in March this year. Three of the cubs died earlier this month.
These cubs were the first to be born in the wild on Indian soil after the last cheetah was hunted in Korea district of present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947.
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Apart from these cheetah cubs, three of the 20 adult cheetahs — Daksha, Sasha and Uday — translocated from South Africa and Namibia have died at the KNP.
Namibian cheetah Sasha died due to a kidney-related ailment on March 27, Uday brought in from South Africa died on April 13, while South African cheetah Daksha succumbed to the injuries following a violent interaction with a male during a mating attempt on May 9.