Project Cheetah: India’s reintroduction project on course despite challenges, says Cheetah Conservation Fund | India News

NEW DELHI: The cheetah’s exceptional journey within the first yr of their reintroduction in India has been marked by each setbacks and successes, and the mission is on monitor, in response to the Namibia-based Cheetah Conservation Fund. The CCF has carefully assisted Indian authorities in re-introducing cheetahs in India. CCF founder Laurie Marker has been instrumental in drafting plans for the introduction and has travelled to India a number of instances since 2009.
“Bringing again cheetahs to India was a daring endeavour, stuffed with challenges. We celebrated the beginning of the primary litter of 4 cubs born to one of many females from Namibia and the extra arrival of a bunch of 12 cheetahs from South Africa. Regardless of setbacks and difficulties that prompted a choice to retrieve the animals, we’re leveraging these experiences to reassess methods earlier than the cheetahs are launched as soon as once more,” Marker mentioned in a press release.
“The mission is on monitor, and Namibia is proud to be part of increasing the cheetahs’ territory into India,” mentioned Peter Katjavivi, Namibia’s Speaker of the Nationwide Meeting, and CCF’s Worldwide Patron.
Whereas the preliminary yr of the historic reintroduction of cheetahs in India has been marked by setbacks, the Challenge Cheetah workforce stays devoted to its mission, the assertion mentioned.
Challenge Cheetah, India’s formidable initiative to reintroduce cheetahs after their extinction within the nation, marks its first anniversary on Sunday.
The initiative started on September 17 final yr when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a bunch of cheetahs introduced from Namibia into an enclosure at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno Nationwide Park. Since then, the mission has been carefully watched by conservationists and specialists worldwide.
Twenty cheetahs had been imported from Namibia and South Africa to Kuno in two batches – one in September final yr and the second in February.
Since March, six of those grownup cheetahs have died because of varied causes. In Could, three of the 4 cubs born to a feminine Namibian cheetah succumbed to excessive warmth. The remaining cub is being raised underneath human take care of future wilding.
In keeping with Challenge Cheetah head SP Yadav, one of many largest challenges confronted within the first yr of managing cheetahs in India was the surprising growth of winter coats by some cheetahs through the Indian summer season and monsoon, in anticipation of the African winter (June to September).
The winter coat, mixed with excessive humidity and temperatures, precipitated itching, prompting the animals to scratch their necks in opposition to tree trunks or on the bottom. This led to bruises and uncovered pores and skin, the place flies laid their eggs, leading to maggot infestations and, finally, bacterial infections and septicemia, resulting in dying, he advised PTI.
“As soon as this trigger was recognized to us, the veterinarians instantly took steps, and all animals had been introduced again to the bomas (enclosures) and got preventive medicines, and now everyone seems to be wholesome. So, that is good studying for the following yr cycle. And we’ll be very well-prepared subsequent yr to face this sort of scenario,” the senior forest official mentioned.
Whereas cheetahs await re-release, the CCF has provided recommendation and new methods to assist make sure the profitable reintegration of those majestic creatures into their pure habitat.
Regardless of the challenges, there have additionally been many optimistic outcomes, together with the affirmation that the reintroduced cheetahs are looking native prey species, the CCF mentioned.
Notably, two feminine cheetahs, caught within the wild and having frolicked in captivity in Namibia, have efficiently tailored to the Indian wilderness and have been independently looking.
“As a part of the rewilding course of since their launch, they’ve proven promising indicators and could be match for launch into the wild in the end following due diligence,” the CCF mentioned.
There have been no human-wildlife battle incidents, and the communities surrounding Kuno Nationwide Park have been extremely accepting of getting cheetahs residing in such shut proximity.
Cheetahs usually face important threats from different predators like hyenas and leopards, nevertheless, the presence of leopards has not deterred the cheetah’s integration again into their former vary, it mentioned.

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