“Full of enemies, lacking prey”

Eight cheetahs brought back from Namibia are now in Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh.

New Delhi:

On a day when eight cheetahs were brought from Africa as part of a historic re-introduction of the animal in India, leading conservationist Valmik Thapar listed worries about “how the big cats will walk, hunt, feed and raise cubs” at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, where it faces a “lack of space and prey”.

“The area is full of hyenas and leopards, the main enemies of cheetahs. If you see them in Africa, hyenas chase and even kill cheetahs,” he said in an interview with NDTV. “There are 150 villages around, there are dogs that can tear cheetahs. It’s a very gentle animal.”

Speed ​​versus space

When asked why the cheetah, the fastest mammal on earth, can’t outrun its attackers, he cited the difference in terrain. “In places like the Serengeti (National Park in Tanzania), cheetahs can run away because there are large grasslands. In Kuno, unless you convert forest land into grassland, that’s a problem.. . when quickly turning corners on rocky, obstacle-filled ground, it was a big challenge (for cheetahs).”

“Can the government convert forest land to pasture? Does the law allow this,” he asked, rhetorically.


Initially, the plan was to relocate some lions from Gir (Gujarat) for a second population in Kuno, to prevent the epidemic from wiping them out,” said Thapar, apparently referring to moves around the year. 2010,” But the Gujarat government did not agree”. The Supreme Court initially supported the lion permutation, but approved the leopard’s plan about two years ago.

Mr. Thapar listed the tiger as another potential threat to cheetahs in Kuno: “Sometimes even tigers come here from Ranthambore, one of the reasons that lions can’t move. Not very often. But we’ll have to seal that corridor as well.”

What will they eat?

He also listed the problems of finding prey. “In the Serengeti, there are over a million gazelles available. In Kuno, unless we breed and bring back blackbucks or chinkaras, the cheetahs will have to hunt Spotted deer, wild animals and possibly these deer also have large antlers and can injure cheetahs. And cheetahs cannot injure; most are fatal to them.”

“We needed to cross-breed chinkaras and blackbucks. However, we wanted to make history,” he said. “I’m not sure why we’re doing this at this level. There are a lot of problems with this. native species. We need to find a species that BENEFITS.”

He said cheetahs had long been “a royal pet” and had “never killed a human”. “So tender, so fragile. [The relocation] is a huge challenge. “

Earlier today, wearing sunglasses and a safari hat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Turn the lever to release a swarm of leopards from Namibia into a special encirclement in Kuno.


The Prime Minister – today is his birthday – was seen clicking pictures of the big cats after releasing them. The cheetahs, consisting of 5 females and 3 males, will be kept in isolated enclosures for about a month before being released into the open woodland areas of the park.

The creatures were declared extinct in India in 1952.

Valmik Thapar emphasized that they do not do well in livestock. “There are only about 6,500 to 7,100 left in the world. And the mortality rate (death at the cub stage) is 95 percent. Right now, eight have been included, and the number will be many more, going to grow to 35 over the years. It’s a huge task. They need 24-hour surveillance to make sure they’re alive.”

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