Pavan, the male Namibian cheetah that had strayed out of the Kuno National Park last week has been rescued while it was about to cross over to a forest in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and brought back to the park, an official said on Sunday (April 23).
This is the second time this month that that Pavan (earlier known as Oban) was tranquilised and brought back to Kuno after it strayed outside its boundary.
Also read: India’s cheetah reintroduction plan ignored spatial ecology: Scientists
After being tranquilised at Karera forest in Shivpuri district, the cheetah was released in Palpur forest of the Kuno National Park at around 9.30 pm on Saturday (April 22), KNP’s Divisional Forest Officer Prakash Kumar Verma told PTI.
The cheetah was moving towards Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh when it was rescued. The spotted cat was around 150 km away from the KNP at that time, the official said.
On April 7, the feline, which has strayed out of the KNP multiple times, was rescued from Bairad area in Shivpuri after being tranquilised and brought back to the park, officials said.
Government exploring more sites
Reports say that the Centre is exploring an alternate site to accommodate the felines given their growing population and need for bigger spaces to prowl and hunt.
Also read: Namibian cheetah Oban bolts from Kuno National Park once again
Kuno at present houses 19 adult cheetahs and four cubs. The Cheetah Action Plan said that the population may expand to 25 cheetahs if another animal gives birth (considering a cheetah litter usually consists of two to six cubs). This would exceed the carrying capacity of the national park which is equipped to accommodate only 20.
A report said the central environment authorities have suggested Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary in Mandasaur (Madhya Pradesh) and Mukunda in Rajasthan as alternate habitats.
Eight Namibian cheetahs, comprising five females and three males, were brought to the KNP as part of an ambitious reintroduction programme of the species and were released into special enclosures on September 17, 2022 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Also read: Escaped Namibian cheetah brought back to Kuno National Park
One of them, Sasha, died of a kidney ailment on March 27. Another cheetah, named Siyaya, recently gave birth to four cubs. On February 18 this year, 12 cheetahs, comprising seven males and five females, were brought to the KNP from South Africa.
The last Indian cheetah died in Koriya district in present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947, and the species was declared extinct from the country in 1952.
Also read: Cheetah Oban sneaks out of Kuno, strays into MP village 20 km away
(With inputs from agencies)