New Committee Formed To Oversee Cheetah Project After Six Cheetah Deaths At Kuno National Park
New Committee Formed To Oversee Cheetah Project After Six Cheetah Deaths At Kuno National ParkOne of 12 South African cheetahs released into Kuno National Park. (Photo: Bhupender Yadav/Twitter)

In only two and a half months, six cheetahs, including three newborn cubs, have died at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.

In the last week alone, the three recently born Namibian cheetah cubs passed away allegedly due to dehydration and malnourishment.

Now, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has formed an 11-member Cheetah Project Steering Committee, with Rajesh Gopal, Global Tiger Forum's secretary general, as its chairman.

The committee was formed after a meeting with the additional chief secretary of the Madhya Pradesh government.

Alongside the committee is a consulting panel of international Cheetah experts. This four-member panel comprises South African veterinary specialist Professor Adrian Tordiffe; Dr Laurie Marker of Cheetah Conservation Fund, Namibia; Dr Andrew John Fraser of Farm Olievenbosch, South Africa; and Vincent van der Merwe, manager of Cheetah Metapopulation Project.

The NTCA had created a group to oversee the well-being and progress of cheetahs brought from Namibia, in October 2020. The team had nine members.

Forest experts and officials, however, have been demanding a head of the Cheetah Project and an international expert panel.

An official, seeking anonymity, disclosed to Hindustan Times that the project underwent numerous changes in the last seven months. A new committee was, therefore, formed to address the new priorities.

The newly formed committee will assess progress, monitor, and advise on cheetah reintroduction to the Forest Department of Madhya Pradesh and the NTCA.

The committee will also decide on the cheetah habitat opening for eco-tourism and recommend related regulations.

According to the NTCA, the committee can invite experts for consultation as needed. Additionally, the committee will provide recommendations regarding community involvement in the project activities.

The committee will be active for two years, with a minimum monthly meeting and additional field visits as necessary, per the statement.

Kuno National Park currently holds 18 cheetahs, plus one cub.

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