Seventh cheetah dies since reintroduction in India

Animal News: Seventh cheetah dies since reintroduction in India
Cheetah and cheetah cub, photo: Canva

A male cheetah named Tajas is the seventh cheetah to die at Kuno National Park in India after the animals were reintroduced in the country. Tajas was discovered injured and probably died from fighting.

The park said Tajas was the seventh death within only a few months, intensifying concerns around the reintroduction project.

The species were declared extinct in India in 1952 because of hunting and shrinking habitats. Last year, eight cheetahs were translocated from Namibia and another twelve from South Africa to repopulate the species in India.

Conservationists had warned that the Indian habitat would not be suitable for the African cheetahs because the park doesn’t have enough prey, and the risk from other predators would be too high.

Three cubs born in March to a cheetah from Namibia also didn’t survive, succumbing to health issues in May. According to park authorities, the cubs were weak, underweight, and severely dehydrated when found.

Various factors, such as kidney failure and injuries sustained during mating, have caused the deaths of the adult cheetahs.

An action plan published last year proclaimed that Kuno offered a “suitable habitat and adequate prey base” for the cheetahs, yet this claim is now being debated by some conservationists.

The people behind the cheetah reintroduction plan said a 50% mortality rate in the first year would still be successful. They knew some animals would die but decided to relocate the cheetahs.

In May, the number of deaths drew the attention of India’s Supreme Court, which expressed its concern and urged the federal government to consider moving the cheetahs to an alternative location.

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