Kuno National Park in India’s Madhya Pradesh state has been hit by yet another loss, as a female cheetah named Dhatri (Tiblisi) was found dead this morning, bringing the total death toll to nine within just five months. The park authorities have initiated a post-mortem to determine the cause of death.
The deaths have sparked concern as nine cheetahs, including three cubs, have already succumbed at the park since the reintroduction of 20 adult cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa in September of the previous year. The situation escalated last month when two male cheetahs, Tejas and Suraj, lost their lives in quick succession, with speculations about infections from radio collars during excessively wet weather.
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, however, dismissed these claims as “unscientific.” An autopsy revealed that Tejas had suffered from a “traumatic shock” following a violent encounter with a female cheetah. Clashes among cheetahs and health issues like renal and cardiac failure have been attributed to several other injuries and deaths.
The distressing situation has drawn the attention of experts from South Africa and Namibia, who are part of the national cheetah project steering committee. In a joint letter to the Supreme Court, they expressed serious concerns about the project’s management, stressing that better monitoring and timely veterinary care could have prevented these deaths if their expertise had been incorporated.