Bhopal: The ambitious ‘Project Cheetah’ suffered yet another jolt as one more big cat translocated from South Africa was reported dead at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park (KNP) on Wednesday.
The dead feline was identified as ‘Dhatri’. With this a total nine cheetahs, including three born on Indian soil, have died since in the last seven months.
As per the official sources, Dhatri (all 20 cheetahs were given Indian names and ‘Tiblisi’ was named as ‘Dhatri’) was spotted lying unconscious and when examined she died.
The officials said they were yet to come out with the exact reason of her death, which will be known after autopsy reports.
It is the third adult cheetah to die at KNP within a span of 20 days after two big cats brought from South Africa — ‘Tejas’ and ‘Suraj’ — died in the second week of July.
While a total of nine cheetahs have died so far at KNP since the 20 radio-collared cheetahs were released in two phases on September 17, 2022 and February 18 this year.
Cheetah ‘Suraj’ — a sub-adult from South Africa released in the KNP on February 18 — was found dead in the Masawani beat of the park. Earlier, on July 10, five-and-half-year old Teja, also from South Africa, was found dead.
Three of the four newborn cubs of the Namibian Cheetah ‘Jwala’ died between May 23 and 25 due to complications arising from low birth weight and extreme heat. Earlier, ‘Sasha’, a six-year-old female from Namibia had died on March 27 due to apparent renal infection.
On April 23, a male renamed ‘Uday’ from South Africa died after being seen staggering in his enclosure. ‘Daksha’, also from South Africa, died on May 9 likely due to injuries sustained during violent mating interaction with two adult cheetahs also from South Africa.