A female cheetah, brough to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park from South Africa, died on Tuesday following a “violent interaction” with male cheetahs during mating, officials said. The animal, named Daksha, was the third cheetah to die at the national park in the last three months.
Officials said a monitoring team found Daksha injured and provided medical attention, but that it died by noon.
“Prima facie, the wounds found on the female cheetah, Daksha, seem to have been caused by violent interaction with the male, possibly during mating,” Madhya Pradesh Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) J S Chauhan said.
“Violent behaviour by a male cheetah coalition (group of male cheetahs) towards female cheetahs during mating is common,” he said, adding, “In such a situation, the chances of intervention by the monitoring team are almost non-existent.”
Daksha had been released into enclosure number 1, and two male cheetahs, Vayu and Agni, which were also brought to Kuno from South Africa, were released from enclosure 7 for mating.
The decision to allow Daksha into the company of the male cheetahs was taken in a meeting held on April 30. This meeting was attended by Inspector General of National Tiger Conservation Authority Amit Mallick, Wildlife Institute of India’s Dr Qamar Qureshi, South African academic Adrian Tordiffe and the Cheetah Meta Population Initiative’s Vincent van der Merwe.
According to the decision taken at this meeting, it was “decided to mate the cheetah male coalition, Agni and Vayu from South Africa present in enclosure number 7, with Daksha”.
As a result, the gate between enclosures 7 and 1 was opened on May 1, and the male cheetahs entered enclosure 1 on May 6, Chauhan said.
Of the 20 cheetahs brought to India from Africa since last year, in the world’s first intercontinental translocation of such animals, 17 now remain.
On April 2, Uday, another cheetah that was brought to Kuno from South Africa, died after it suddenly became ill. On March 27, a Namibian cheetah named Sasha had died of kidney complications. Sasha was believed to have contracted the kidney ailment during its captivity in Namibia and had been unwell since arriving in Kuno.
Kicking off the intercontinental translocation of cheetahs from Africa to India, eight cheetahs were brought from Namibia and released in Kuno in September last year. Another batch of 12 cheetahs were brought from South Africa in February this year.
They were brought to India in an effort to revive the cheetah population in the country, which had seen its last cheetah die in the Koriya district of present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947. The species was declared extinct in India in 1952.
Source: Indian Express