The Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh has enough prey for the cheetahs residing there, according to Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav, and there are currently no plans to move the cats somewhere else.
However, he added that a “alternative site” has been chosen as the Gandhi Sagar wildlife sanctuary in northwest Madhya Pradesh in case Kuno ever experiences any issues.
At a news conference where he highlighted the accomplishments of his ministry throughout the course of the government’s nine years, Yadav stated, “But for the time being, there is no plan to shift the cheetahs anywhere else.”
He stated that “we should give them time to do that” as the cheetahs are establishing their territories and adjusting to the weather and surroundings.
On September 17 of last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the first group of eight spotted cats from Namibia into a quarantine pen at Kuno.
On February 18, 12 cheetahs were flown in from South Africa and released into Kuno as part of a second similar translocation.
In the past three months, three adult cheetahs and three cubs have perished, raising concerns among specialists about the viability of Kuno’s habitat, prey base, and wildlife management.
Some even suggested moving the cheetahs to neighbouring sanctuaries, claiming Kuno “lacked space and logistical support”.
The Centre last month established an 11-member high-level steering committee to review and track the development of the cheetah reintroduction effort in response to the deaths of cheetah cubs.
The government and the project’s experts have insisted that the mortality rate is within normal bounds.
Up to 50% of death was projected in the first year of relocation in the cheetah reintroduction action plan.