Kuno cheetahs to be released into the wild in winter with collars on

The cheetahs in Kuno are likely to be released into the wild after the onset of winter, and they will have their collars fitted back on them, S.P. Yadav, head of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and key official with Project Cheetah told The Hindu.

A year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the first of eight African cheetahs, flown from Namibia into enclosures at the Kuno National Park , Madhya Pradesh, the plan was to have the animals — later joined by a cohort of 12 cheetahs from South Africa — range in the 748 sq. km of the park.

However, a year later, six of the 20 animals had died, and of the quartet of the first litter born to one of the animals, three succumbed to Kuno’s heat, with the surviving cub being hand-reared by park officials. While ailments and adapting to Indian conditions are believed to be behind the death of the animals, a particular cause of worry has been the death of two cheetahs reportedly by parasitical infections from open, untreated wounds around their necks. Mr. Yadav dismissed suggestions that the collars were responsible.

Collars on

All the cheetahs had been checked and treated, including those requiring medication. “In some cheetahs, there was no need to remove the collars and so, they are still wearing them. When we release all of them back into the wild, they will all have their collars on. It’s the only way to monitor them,” Mr. Yadav added.