The last of the three females were released from quarantine on November 28—a crucial step before their release into the wild
One of the cheetahs translocated to India; (Photo: ANI)
By Rahul Noronha: The Kuno National Park management, on November 28, released three female cheetahs into an enclosure, marking the end of the quarantine period of all eight cheetahs brought to India from Namibia on September 17. This is a crucial and final step before the big cats are finally released into the wild in India.
Kuno divisional forest officer (DFO) Prakash Verma told INDIA TODAY that the last of the three female cheetahs—named Savannah, Sasha and Siyaya—were released into an enclosure outside their quarantine enclosure. Two other female cheetahs—Asha and Tbilisi—were released from quarantine on November 27. While Savannah, Sasha and Siyaya are in one enclosure, Asha and Tbilisi have been kept in two separate enclosures.
A total of eight cheetahs—five females and three males—were translocated from Namibia to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park as part of a cheetah reintroduction plan. All eight specimens were kept in quarantine, and as per the plan are to be released in game-stocked enclosures for acclimatisation, where they are expected to kill for food. From the game-stocked enclosure, the cheetahs would be released in the wild.
The first to be moved out of quarantine were two males, siblings Elton and Freddie. They were moved out on November 5 while Obaan, the third male in the group, was released on November 18.
While Elton, Freddie and Obaan have settled down well and have been hunting regularly, all eyes are on the five female wild cats for them to make a kill. A successful hunt marks the settling down of the animal and is an important milestone in the introduction process.
The decision to release the cheetahs from quarantine was taken in consultation with the Cheetah Task Force, constituted for monitoring the introduction process. The next crucial decision would be to release the cheetahs in the wild, which is likely to be taken after consultations between the task force and experts from South Africa and Namibia.
Aditya Mohan Wig
Nov 28, 2022