The government of India's Project Cheetah is turning out to be a nightmare for the big cats that were relocated to India from Africa in the last few months.
Two days after the death of the first cheetah cub, two more cubs of cheetah Jwala died on Thursday (May 25) in Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park. One more cub has been kept under observation as his health continues to be critical.
According to press note released by Kuno National Park, May 23 was the hottest day of this season. As the heatwaves increased and temperatures reached to 47 degree Celsius, Jwala's cubs were not showing good signs of health.
The note said that all the cubs were found to be weak and dehydrated.
These cubs, who were born two months ago, marks six deaths of cheetahs translocated from African countries to India. Earleir, 3 cheetahs had died due to differeent reasons.
Sasha, one of the Namibian cheetahs, had succumbed to a kidney-related ailment on March 27, while another cheetah from South Africa, Uday, died on April 13. The cause of his death was believed to be due to cardiopulmonary failure.
Daksha, a cheetah brought from South Africa, died of injuries following a violent interaction with a male during a mating attempt on May 9.
Vincent Van Der Merwe, a South African cheetah metapopulation expert said that weaker cheetah cubs in a litter will typically suckle less than their stronger siblings, reported India Today.
"This death should be viewed within the context of 'survival of the fittest'. As part of the natural selection process, weaker cheetahs will be eliminated from the gene pool. This ensures that only the fittest and strongest survive, to the benefit of wild cheetah survival," he said.
A total of 20 cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa were introduced to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh since last year to establish a reintroduction of the big cats in India for the first time since their extinction from the country 70 years ago.
Cheetahs were declared extinct from tIndia in 1952.