One of the cheetahs translocated to the Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh, was injured following a skirmish between two pairs on Monday. The animal has been brought to a quarantine enclosure where it is being treated. A senior official told The Hindu that the animal is likely to recover soon.
“Two cheetahs of a coalition had a fight with another two and one among them got injured, requiring treatment. His [hunting] partner, too has been brought and kept in the enclosure. It seems that he will recover soon,” Rajesh Gopal, who chairs an apex committee of experts constituted to oversee the management of cheetahs, told The Hindu, “ This is a natural behaviour among cats, including tigers.”
Of the 20 cheetahs flown in from Namibia and South Africa since September 2022, three adults have died. Though one of the cheetahs gave birth to four cubs, only one survived. It was taken by park officials and is being hand-reared as it hasn’t yet been accepted back by its mother.
So far about 10 cheetahs have been released from their enclosures and left to acclimatise to the wild where they are expected to mark territories, hunt and eventually adapt to the Indian landscape. Authorities are also putting in measures to train forest officials in contiguous States such as Uttar Pradesh, where villages are likely to see some of the cheetah foray into agricultural settlements.
Dr Qamar Qureshi, scientist at the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun and involved with the cheetah programme told The Hindu in an earlier interview that India’s cheetah re-introduction plan is premised on having the animals establish a sustainable population under wild conditions. The National Cheetah Action Plan, which lays out guidelines on cheetah management, accounts for the possibility of nearly half the translocated animals dying within a year. As part of the plan, more animals are expected to be translocated from Africa until a sustainable population comes into being.