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Sheopur: The condition of the fourth cheetah cub born in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park (KNP) is stable. A female cheetah named Jwala, who was brought to KNP from Namibia in September last year, gave birth to four cubs in the last week of March this year. Three of these cubs have died three days back while the fourth cub is undergoing treatment. Jwala was earlier known as Siya.
The death of three Indian-born cheetah cubs at KNP has dealt a blow to ‘Project Cheetah’, an ambitious plan to reintroduce cheetahs to the country. KNP Director Uttam Sharma said that the condition of the fourth cheetah cub is stable. But it is very difficult to tell whether any (sick) animal survives. We are working day and night to save him.
Another forest department official blamed the scorching heat for the death of the three cubs on May 23. He said that when these three cubs died on May 23, the temperature there was more than 45 degree Celsius, which was not favorable for them. He told that in Namibia, cheetahs give birth to their offspring at the beginning of the rainy season, after which there are winters. Jwala gave birth to four cubs at KNP in early summer, which was an unfavorable time for cubs in terms of temperature. However, the weather in KNP is pleasant now due to rains last night, he said.
The death of a cub was reported on 23 May at KNP. Two cubs also died in the afternoon of the same day, but their deaths were reported two days later, on 25 May. According to the information released on Thursday, after the death of a cheetah cub on May 23, the monitoring team monitored the activities of the female cheetah Jwala and her remaining three cubs. On May 23, the surveillance team found that the condition of the three cubs was not good and it was decided to treat them. The day temperature at that time was around 46 to 47 degree Celsius. The cubs were found to be severely dehydrated and could not be saved despite treatment. The condition of the fourth cub is stable and is undergoing intensive treatment.
One of the Namibian cheetahs, Sasha, died of kidney disease on 27 March, while Uday, a cheetah imported from South Africa, died on 13 April. At the same time, Daksha, a female cheetah brought from South Africa, died on May 9 this year.
Jwala’s four cubs were the first to be born on Indian soil after the last cheetah hunt in Chhattisgarh’s Korea district in 1947. Apart from three cubs, three of the 20 adult cheetahs brought from South Africa and Namibia have died in KNP. These cheetahs were brought to KNP from Namibia and South Africa in September last year and February this year respectively.
This wildlife, characterized by the fastest running on earth, was declared extinct in the country in 1952. On September 17, 2022, five female and three male cheetahs brought from Namibia were released into enclosures at KNP in an event organized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Another 12 cheetahs were brought from South Africa in February 2023 and kept in separate enclosures.
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