EXC: Sad news for India as Namibian cheetah dies at Kuno

Kuno authorities will launch an investigation to ascertain circumstances leading to Shasha’s death and fix responsibility, the sources told The New Indian.

Bhopal/New Delhi  | Updated: 27 March, 2023 7:34 pm IST
Shasha was three-year-old and was released in the Kuno National Park by PM Modi in September last year.

In a setback to India’s ambitious cheetah reintroduction plans, one of the eight big cats brought from Namibia in September last year has passed away at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.

The three-year-old Namibian cheetah, released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, breathed her last on Sunday night, sources in the forest reserve told The New Indian.

The female cheetah christened as Shasha was ailing with a kidney-related disease for the past few months. “She was under observation of doctors at the Kuno National Park,” one of the sources cited above said.

Shasha was detected to be in a weak health condition during regular checks conducted by a medical team in January this year. Upon conducting some tests, doctors found her to be in a weak health condition and suffering from dehydration, as per sources.

A team of veterinary doctors was called from state capital Bhopal, which started her advance level treatment. Unfortunately, their efforts did not bear any fruit and the cute guest breathed her last on Sunday night.

Three-year-old Shasha was created at the Kuno National Park by the staff on Monday.

On Monday, a postmortem examination was conducted on her and she was cremated by the national park staff. Forest and conservation authorities in India create bodies of protected animals to avoid possibilities of the sale of their body parts that are in high demand in the illegal market.

Authorities will launch an investigation to ascertain circumstances leading to her death and fix responsibility, the sources informed.

Shasha along with seven other cheetah trans-located from Namibia was released into the park by PM Modi with great fanfare on the occasion of his birthday on September 17, 2022. It was the first time a cheetah set foot in India ever since they became extinct in the country nearly three decades ago.

Out of the eight cheetahs, five were female and three were male cheetahs. With Shasha’s demise, the number of female Namibian cheetahs at Kuno has come down to four.

Recently, 12 more cheetahs, brought from South Africa, were released in the Kuno National Park, taking the tally of the big cats to 20. With her death, it has now come down to 19.

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