A cheetah translocated from Namibia to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh has given birth to four healthy cubs, officials said on Wednesday.
The happy news came in the wake of the death of another relocated female cheetah at the Park two days ago.
Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav described the birth of four cubs as a momentous event in India’s wildlife conservation history during ‘Amrit Kaal’.
“I am delighted to share that four cubs have been born to one of the cheetahs translocated to India on 17th September 2022, under the visionary leadership of PM Shri @narendramodi ji (sic),” he tweeted.
The minister congratulated the entire team of Project Cheetah for their relentless efforts in bringing back the large carnivore to India and for their efforts in correcting an ecological wrong done in the past.
Under the ambitious Cheetah reintroduction programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the first batch of eight spotted felines — five females and three males — from Namibia into a quarantine enclosure at Kuno on his 72nd birthday on September 17 last year.
One of the Namibian cheetahs, Sasha, died due to a kidney-related ailment on Monday.
Twelve more cheetahs were flown in from South Africa and released into Kuno in Sheopur district on February 18 this year.
Cheetah is the only large carnivore that got completely wiped out from India due to over-hunting and habitat loss.
The last cheetah died in Koriya district of present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947 and the species was declared extinct in 1952.
A senior official at Kuno National Park said the cubs were believed to have been born five days ago, but they were spotted by officials on Wednesday.
`Siyaya’, their mother, and the cubs were fine and healthy, said Sheopur divisional forest officer P K Varma.
In fact, Siyaya has killed two animals since she became mother, officials said.
She has been kept in a big enclosure at the park as of now.
A female cheetah generally gives birth 90 to 93 days after mating. As Namibian cheetahs were brought here in September, Siyaya would have mated after her arrival in India.
The twelve cheetahs brought from South Africa in February are housed in a quarantine enclosure and are healthy and active, officials said.