African cheetahs just killed a cheetal on Indian soil and Kuno National Park is celebrating

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadNov 07, 2022 | 16:32

African cheetahs just killed a cheetal on Indian soil and Kuno National Park is celebrating

Two cheetahs released from quarantine. Photo: @narendramodi/Twitter

It has been 51 days since eight African cheetahs made their way from Namibia to India's Madhya Pradesh. Finally, it seems like the cheetahs are ready to call India their new home.

  • Two cheetahs released into a special enclosure made their first kill on Indian soil.


Their prey? The cheetal or the spotted deer.

Why is Kuno celebrating this? There are various factors to look for here:

  • The two cheetahs, named Freddie and Elton, made their first kill soon after they were released from quarantine and into the special enclosure.
  • They were released on November 5 and they made the kill on the intervening night of November 6-7. 
Soon after they were released on Nov 5, the cheetahs made an attempt to hunt down a cheetal. That failed, but they successfully killed another cheetal during the intervening night of Nov 6-7.
- JS Chauhan, Chief Wildlife Warden, Madhya Pradesh
  • Most importantly, their prey, the spotted deer, isn't something the cheetahs were used to seeing in Namibia. 
  • The deers are not found anywhere in Namibia or the entire African continent. 
  • So, for the cheetahs to recognise the species as prey and not hesitating to kill it signals that they are already willing to adapt to the new location. 
  • Also, not all the cheetahs brought to India are from the wild. So, some may take some time to develop their natural hunting instincts.
  • As for Freddie and Elton, they seemed to have passed the first critical step. 

How does the relocation process work? India brought eight cheetahs on September 17 - Freddie, Elton, Savannah, Sasha, Obaan, Asha, Cibili and Saisa - from Namibia. 

  • According to protocol, they were placed in quarantine where they were fed buffalo meat. This was done to ensure the animals did not spread any infection. 
  • Now, after a month, authorities are releasing the cheetahs in a phased manner into a special enclosure.
  • The enclosed area includes blue bull, four-horned antelope, wild boar and Indian gazelle as prey base. 
  • This enclosure is free from other big predators like leopards.
  • However, there is one female leopard that has evaded being flushed out of the area and hence, the authorities have not released any of the five female cheetahs to avoid conflict. (Read more on the differences between the big cats).
  • Authorities are also preparing to release a third male cheetah. 
Last updated: November 07, 2022 | 16:36
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