No Cheetah died due to radio collars, next batch at two sites: Project head
Head of Project Cheetah dismisses speculation of radio collars causing death of cheetahs in Kuno National Park.
The head of Project Cheetah has dismissed the speculations of possible infection linked to radio collars as a cause of death of big cats at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. In an interview with news agency ANI, Project Cheetah head SP Yadav, who is also a member secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), said carnivores and animals are monitored all over the world by radio collars and this is a proven technology.
“There is no truth that any cheetah died due to radio collars. I want to say that monitoring is not possible in the wild without radio collars,” he said.
“A total of 20 cheetahs were brought from Namibia and South Africa out of which 14 (adults) are completely healthy and are doing well. Four cheetahs were born on the soil of Bharat and one of them is now six months old and is doing fine. The three cubs died because of climatic factors," Yadav told ANI.
The reintroduction of cheetahs, which had become extinct in India, will complete one year this month. Prime Minister Narendra Modi released African cheetahs into the wild at Kuno on September 17 last year, marking a historic moment in India's wildlife conservation efforts.
Nine cheetahs died in Kuno National Park since March this year.
Yadav said no cheetah died at the Kuno National Park due to “hunting or poaching”.
"Generally, in other countries, poaching and hunting leads to deaths but our preparation was so good that not even a single cheetah has died due to hunting, poaching, or poisoning.. nor has any cheetah died due to human conflict..we have successfully achieved milestones in the past year,” he said.
"There has never been an attempt to move a cheetah from one continent to another and this was the first wild-to-wild translocation and there were a lot of challenges in it. Usually, in such long-distance translocation, a cheetah may die because it is a sensitive animal but no such death occurred here and the translocation was very seamless," he added.
Each of the cheetahs has been equipped with radio collars, allowing wildlife authorities to track their movements in real time through satellite technology.
Continuous surveillance is maintained through an extensive network of CCTV cameras strategically positioned throughout Kuno National Park. In addition to the electronic surveillance, "machaans" (elevated observation platforms) have been set up in the forest area to provide additional vantage points for monitoring the cheetahs' activities.
A dedicated Cheetah Monitoring and Control Room has been established within the national park to centralize the tracking and observation efforts.
Following the translocation of 12 cheetahs in February from South Africa, the plan is to translocate 12 annually for the next eight to 10 years.
"Preparations are going on for next batch of cheetahs at two sites, one is Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, where the habitat is suitable, and the work of making enclosure is going on at a very fast pace.. I hope that in November-December the work of fencing and enclosure will be complete and a decision will be taken to bring cheetahs there after inspection," he said.
(With ANI inputs)