Cheetah Conservation in India: Successes and Controversies

A cheetah mother with her cubs in Kuno National Park, symbolizing the growing cheetah population in India
Cheetah Conservation in India: Successes and Controversies

The Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change recently announced a significant milestone in India's conservation efforts. South African cheetah ‘Gamini’ has given birth to five cubs at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur. This is a noteworthy addition, bringing the total number of Indian-born cheetah cubs to 13 and raising the park's cheetah population to 26.

This birth is part of 'Project Cheetah,' initiated in September 2022. It marks the fourth cheetah birth on Indian soil since the project's launch and the first litter born to cheetahs brought from South Africa. Previously, Namibian cheetahs Jwala and Aasha had given birth in the park.

However, Jwala's story is one of both success and tragedy. She had previously given birth twice in Kuno National Park. Her first litter, born in March 2023, consisted of four cubs, but three died due to heat stress, dehydration, and alleged negligence. The sole surviving cub from this litter is being hand-raised in the park.

'Project Cheetah' has faced controversy, with several international experts initially involved in the project claiming they were dropped by Indian authorities and not kept informed about its progress. Additionally, seven adult cheetahs brought from Africa have died in Kuno National Park since the project began.

Despite these challenges, the cheetah population has grown significantly due to successful breeding efforts. In September 2022, eight cheetahs from Namibia were introduced, followed by an additional 12 cheetahs from South Africa in February 2023. While more than half of the introduced cheetahs have survived, concerns remain about the project's progress.

Critics argue that the cheetahs are not truly living in the wild, as they are confined to enclosures for extended periods. A wildlife expert raised concerns that the cheetahs were not being introduced for mating and questioned why they were not being released into the wild. The expert also expressed concern about the cheetahs being kept confined for months.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post