India’s efforts to reintroduce cheetahs to the country have been dealt a blow, with the death of a seventh cheetah in just a few months. The male cheetah, named Tejas, was one of 12 that were relocated from South Africa to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park earlier this year.
Sasha, a Namibian cheetah, died in March of kidney illness. Uday, a South African cheetah, died in April from heart failure. Daksha, a South African cheetah, died just weeks later following a violent encounter with male cheetahs during a mating attempt. In May, three of four pups born to a Namibian cheetah named Siyaya perished within a week of birth owing to heat, dehydration, and frailty. The fourth cub was rescued and sent to a local hospital for observation.
The deaths have raised concerns about the suitability of the habitat and management of the project. Some experts have also questioned whether there is enough prey in the national park for the cheetahs, especially given competition from other predators like leopards.
Despite the setbacks, Indian authorities remain optimistic about the program and believe that it will ultimately be successful. They point to the fact that cheetahs have been successfully reintroduced to other countries in the past, such as Iran and Namibia.
India plans to reintroduce 100 cheetahs from southern Africa over the next decade. However, the deaths of the cheetahs have cast a shadow over the project and raised questions about its future. It remains to be seen whether the program will be able to overcome these challenges and succeed in reintroducing cheetahs to India.