Two male cheetahs have done their first hunt on Indian soil over a month after they were flown from Namibia to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park. They were released to a larger enclosure yesterday and made the kill within 24 hours as they hunted a spotted dear or cheetal on Sunday night or in the week hours of Monday, an official told PTI. The two cheetahs were brought from Namibia in mid-September and were released in Kuno National Park by PM Narendra Modi on his birthday. The cheetahs – Freddie and Elton – were the first pair to be released into the larger enclosure on November 5 after being quarantined since September 17.
“The cheetahs making their first kill within 24 hours is beyond expectations. This signifies that the big cats are absolutely fit and the worries of these cheetahs losing any muscle strength owing to the time they spend in quarantine is unfounded,” The India Express quoted a senior forest official as saying. The two Cheetahs will be monitored by the forest officials using satellite collars and cameras for two days and then another cheetah will be released in the larger enclosure. One of the female cheetahs named Asha is speculated to be pregnant is being continuously observed by the forest department and officials will release her any time after November 10.
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Yesterday, PM Narendra Modi tweeted a video of Cheetahs stepping into the larger enclosure and taking a stroll. “Great news! Am told that after the mandatory quarantine, 2 cheetahs have been released to a bigger enclosure for further adaptation to the Kuno habitat. Others will be released soon,” PM Modi tweeted. He also informed that “all cheetahs are healthy, active and adjusting well.”
The Indian cheetahs went extinct in the country in 1952 after the last one was killed in 1947. Under Project Cheetah, the government had translocated eight of these big cats—including five females and three males—from Namibia in a bid to reintroduce cheetahs in India. The male cheetahs are aged between 4.5 years to 5.5 years while the five female cheetahs are aged between two to five years.