Radio collars didn’t cause any cheetah deaths in Kuno National Park: Chief of Project Cheetah SP Yadav

The head of Project Cheetah SP Yadav has said that “not a single cheetah died due radio collars” despite some claims that probable infections connected to radio collars may be to blame for the mortality of cheetahs in Kuno National Park.

In an exclusive interview with ANI on the anniversary of the country’s reintroduction of cheetahs, Yadav, who is also a member secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), said that radio collars are a tried-and-true method of monitoring carnivores and other animals around the globe.

“It is untrue that radio collars caused any cheetah deaths. Without radio collars, monitoring in the wild is impossible, he said.

“A total of 20 cheetah were imported from Namibia and South Africa, and 14 of the adults are in excellent condition. In Bharat, four cheetahs were born, and one of them is currently six months old and doing well. Climate-related issues caused the deaths of the three cubs, Yadav informed ANI.

Since March of this year, nine cheetahs have perished in Kuno National Park.

As far as “hunting or poaching,” Yadav said there were no cheetah fatalities in Kuno National Park.

“Normally, poaching and hunting result in deaths in other nations, but our preparation was so thorough that not even one cheetah has perished due to hunting, poaching, or poisoning. Additionally, not a single cheetah has perished due to human conflict. We have successfully achieved milestones in the past year,” he stated.

The first wild-to-wild transfer of a cheetah took place, and there were many difficulties since there had never been an effort to do so. Because they are such delicate animals, cheetahs often perish during such long-distance translocations, but this time the transition went without a hitch.

After 75 years, the cheetah was reintroduced to the nation last year, according to Yadav.

He said that the survival rate of cheetahs has above 50%. “If we look at the last year from the point of view of success, then the benchmark we had set has been achieved,” he stated.

“On the soil of India, cheetah cubs have been born. The process of climatic adaptation is proceeding as anticipated, and they are carving out their own area, vying for it, and engaging in natural hunting, the senior official stated.

In response to a question, Yadav said that in accordance with the MoU, South Africa is willing to provide 12 to 14 cheetahs annually.

In Madhya Pradesh’s Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, where the environment is ideal and enclosure construction is progressing quickly, preparations are being made for the next group of cheetahs. I’m hoping that the fence and enclosure construction will be finished in November or December, at which point it will be decided whether to move the cheetahs there following an inspection.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa praised the move to bring cheetahs to India during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit there for the BRICS summit in August and said that his nation is ready to contribute more as long as India takes care of large cats.

On September 17 of last year, PM Modi allowed wild cheetahs—which were extinct in India—to repopulate Kuno National Park.

The first intercontinental big wild carnivore translocation initiative in history, initiative Cheetah, moved cheetahs from Namibia and introduced them in India.

Twenty cheetahs were sent to Kuno National Park in two groups, one in September of last year and the other in February of this year, from Namibia and South Africa.

Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on collaboration in the reintroduction of Cheetahs in India by South Africa, twelve cheetahs from that country arrived in Kuno National Park on February 18th. PM Modi released eight cheetahs that were transported from Namibia.

All of the cheetahs have radio collars fitted, and satellite monitoring is also used. In addition to this, a committed surveillance crew continues to watch the area.

The goal is to relocate 12 cheetahs yearly for the next eight to ten years after the relocation of 12 cheetahs from South Africa in February.

The MoU on the reintroduction of cheetahs to India supports conservation, ensuring that knowledge is shared and exchanged, and capacity is established to promote cheetah conservation. It also makes it easier for the parties to work together to build a sustainable and secure cheetah population in India.

Following the recommendations of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), wild species are being reintroduced, including cheetahs.

India has a long tradition of protecting animals. Project Tiger, one of the most effective animal conservation initiatives, was started in the early 1970s and has helped to preserve not just tigers but also the whole ecosystem.

The Maharaja of Korea hunted the last three cheetahs in India in Chhattisgarh in 1947–1948. Cheetahs were declared extinct by the Indian government in 1952, and the Modi administration had recently brought them back into existence.


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