Bhopal: Namibian female cheetah that was found dead at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park (KNP) on Wednesday morning was one of the two female big cats that have been untraceable for the past few days and the wildlife officials along with Namibian experts have been trying to track them using every possible methods.
Two cheetahs — Dhatri or Tiblisi (Namibian name) and Nirva — have been untraceable since past few days.
Dhatri was found dead on Wednesday morning while sub-adult South African female cheetah Nirva was not traced till Wednesday night.
After two African male cheetahs – Tejas and Suraj — died within a span of week last month and some more felines were suspected to have suffered maggot-infested neck wounds, apparently caused by GPS collars, Kuno authorities started capturing all cheetahs moving in larger enclosures or free range to remove their radio collars to examine their health conditions.
As per official sources, during the inspection, at least three Namibian male cheetahs – Pawan, Gaurav, and Shaurya – and two females – Aasha and Savannah – were subsequently found having similar skin infections.
An expert veterinarian from South Africa has cleaned up their wounds, sources said.
All the cheetahs have been administered Fluralaner, a systemic insecticide and acaricide given orally or topically.
It was during the KNP authorities’ efforts to capture all cheetahs for health examination that it came to fore that two female big cats — Dhatri and Nirva — were untraceable.
Sources said that Nirva was in free range and the feline has gone off the radar, which raises apprehension on her health also.
In press note on Wednesday, the KNP said: “Two remaining female cheetahs that are still out in open, are being intensively monitored daily by the Namibian expert, Kuno veterinarian and management team and efforts are being made to bring them back to the boma for their health examination. Today morning one of the female cheetah – Dhatri (Tiblisi) was found dead. To determine the cause of the death, postmortem is being conducted.”
“All the 14 cheetahs (seven males, six females and one female cub) kept in bomas in Kuno National Park are healthy and their health is being regularly monitored by the team of Kuno wildlife veterinarians and the Namibian expert,” it added.
Meanwhile, reports suggested that African and Namibian wildlife experts have raised questions on “appropriate monitoring” of cheetahs and “timely veterinary care”.
As the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are just a few months away, one after another death of cheetahs is also heating up the politics in the state.
Former Environment Minister and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday questioned the death of ninth Cheetah in Madhya Pradesh, saying something has really gone wrong at Kuno and “this is what happens when one man’s vanity and desperate need for self-glory takes over”.
“Something has really gone wrong at Kuno. The ninth cheetah death took place this morning. The argument that all these deaths are expected mortality is complete nonsense and has been debunked by international cheetah experts. This is what happens when science and transparency take a backseat. This is what happens when one man’s vanity and desperate need for self-glory takes over,” Congress leader said in a series of tweets.
Former Chief Minister and Madhya Pradesh Congress President Kamal Nath also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying: “Nine cheetahs have died since the Prime Minister released the cheetahs here at Kuno, but the government is adamant that it will not resettle cheetahs anywhere else.”
Notably, shifting of some of cheetahs from Kuno has been on debate since last few months and a senior official in the Ministry of Forest has earlier told IANS that shifting would be done during the coming winters and Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary (Mandsaur district) will be the most preferable destination.
The first set of eight cheetahs from Namibia were released into the KNP by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 17 last year and another 12 cheetahs landed from South Africa this February. Six adults and three cubs have died at Kuno so far.