Tragic loss: Eighth Cheetah fatality in four months

Kuno National Park witnesses death of male cheetah, Suraj, further jeopardising endangered species’ reintroduction program

| Updated: 14 July, 2023 8:32 pm IST
Setback for Cheetah reintroduction program as Suraj becomes latest victim in Kuno National Park

KOLKATA: The Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh witnessed another devastating loss as a male cheetah named Suraj was found dead early this morning, marking the eighth casualty among big cats in less than four months.

“We are currently investigating the exact cause of Suraj’s death, aiming to determine the factors that led to this tragic incident,” Kuno National Park officials told The New Indian.

This comes just days after the demise of another male cheetah named Tejas on Tuesday, whose autopsy revealed an inability to recover from a “traumatic shock” following a violent altercation with a female cheetah.

ALSO READ: Two cheetahs injured in group clashes in Kuno over dominance

The park has already mourned the loss of several cheetahs in recent months. Sasha, a female cheetah, succumbed to a kidney ailment on March 27. Uday died due to cardio-pulmonary failure on April 23, while Daksha, a female cheetah, lost her life after a violent encounter with a male during a mating attempt on May 9. Additionally, two cheetah cubs perished on May 25 due to extreme weather conditions and dehydration.

Suraj’s unfortunate demise strikes yet another blow to the Indian government’s cheetah reintroduction program, initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September last year. The program aims to reintroduce the African cheetah into Indian habitats.

ALSO READ: Kuno tragedy continues: 2 more cheetah cubs die in MP; Death toll touches 6

Previously, the authorities had refuted any negligence in the deaths of the six cheetahs, stating that the high infant mortality rate among cheetahs is well-documented in global wildlife literature.

However, concerns were raised by wildlife experts from India and South Africa, who predicted a higher mortality rate during the establishment of territories, when cheetahs encounter leopards and tigers in the park.

The continuous loss of cheetahs raises significant challenges for the success of the reintroduction program and calls for intensified efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of these endangered species in their new habitat.

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