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Kuno: Ninth cheetah dies at Kuno; 30% of the big cats flown in now dead | India News

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BHOPAL: Tblisi, a female cheetah translocated from Namibia, has died at Kuno National Park. This is the ninth cheetah to die at Kuno, including three of the four cubs born there.

With 30% of the 20 translocated cheetahs dead in just over four months, the alarm bells are ringing.
Tblisi, which made headlines by making its first hunt on World Cheetah Day, December 4, was found dead on Wednesday morning.

Chief wildlife warden Aseem Srivastava said the cause of death will be known after the autopsy.
Tbilisi, renamed Dhatri in India, was nearly 3.5 years old. It appears to have been ailing for some time. Sources told TOI that “efforts to monitor and treat” Tbilisi were on for the past two weeks but its radio collar signal failed, making it extremely difficult to track. The authorities couldn’t locate it, so they couldn’t treat it in time.

Another female cheetah, Nirbhaya, is untraceable as its radio collar stopped working. Foresters have been looking for it desperately to see if it also needs to be treated for infections, apparently being caused by the rubbing of radio-collars on skin.

The cheetahs that have died so far include two from Namibia, four from South Africa and three cubs born to Namibian Siyaya in end-March. There are 14 adult cheetahs and a female cub left in Kuno now.
The Union government says all the cheetah deaths were due to ‘natural causes’ although at least three had injuries. Tejas and Suraj had maggot-infested neck infections.

Ninth African Cheetah, Dhatri dies in Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park

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Ninth African Cheetah, Dhatri dies in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park

Apart from Nirbhaya, the 14 other cheetahs are back in enclosures where they are being monitored constantly. Officials say they are healthy. Patrol teams are still looking for Nirbhaya to bring it back for a medical checkup.
MP forest officials say Project Cheetah is on the right track despite the deaths and that such challenges are not confined to India. It’s a familiar concern in African regions as well, said an officer, arguing that this “experience” has offered crucial lessons for the Kuno team to safeguard cheetahs in the future.



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