A cheetah has died in India’s Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh state, the second in less than a month.
The cause of death was cardiac failure, according to a preliminary autopsy report. More details are awaited.
Officials at the Kuno National Park told Down to Earth that the cheetah, named Uday, was struggling to walk before its death.
It was one of 12 big cats that were brought to India from South Africa in February.
India reintroduced cheetahs last year, more than 70 years after the animal was declared officially extinct in the country.
On 27 March, a female cheetah who was part of the first batch of animals brought from Namibia had died of a suspected kidney ailment.
The reintroduction of cheetahs in India has generated excitement and any news related to them has been making headlines.
Eight Namibian cheetahs – five males and three females – were translocated to India last year amid fanfare.
Twelve more cheetahs were brought to India from South Africa in February. They were all first kept in a controlled quarantine zone at the park in Kuno before being released into the wild. A team of forest officials and doctors have been tracking and monitoring their movements.
The country also welcomed the birth of four cheetah cubs on 29 March. They were born to one of the females that came from Namibia last September.
India’s environment minister, Bhupendra Yadav, had announced the news, calling it a “momentous event”.
Cheetahs have great symbolic value in India as they are part of many folktales. But it is also the only large mammal to become extinct since independence in 1947.
Hunting, diminishing habitats and non-availability of enough prey – black buck, gazelle and hare – were the main reasons for the extinction of the cat in India. During British rule, cheetahs were also eliminated through bounty hunting because they were entering villages and killing livestock.
Wildlife experts have welcomed the reintroduction of the animal in India but some have also warned of potential risks to them from other predators and not having enough prey.
Source : BBC