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African Cheetahs in India doing well, enjoying buffalo meat

The eight cheetahs brought from Namibia and released in Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh are reportedly doing fine in the new environment

The news from ground zero about the eight cheetahs, brought from Namibia under Project Cheetah and released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at India’s Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, is that they are fine and enjoying their diet of buffalo meat.

Talking to India Narrative, Prakash Kumar Verma, Divisional Forest Officer, Kuno National Park where the eight cheetahs were released and are now under quarantine for 30 days informed that all the big cats are “doing well”.

“They are slowly and gradually adjusting to the new environment after their release by the Prime Minister on September 17,” he informed.

The officials of the KNP and Cheetah Project are not leaving anything to chance as stringent measures and procedures as per the international protocol are being followed while the cheetahs get acclimatized to the new environment.

“Their monitoring is done from a watch tower which is adequately camouflaged, to ensure that the big cats don’t detect any presence. The human imprint is being completely avoided,” said Verma.

The eight cheetahs – five females and three males – have been kept under strict confinement. “Only vets and the expert from the Cheetah Conservation Fund, Bart Balli, observe the animals from a distance,” revealed Verma.

The eight cheetahs are kept in six enclosures. Of these two are housing two brothers and two females respectively.

Sharing details about their diet Verma told India Narrative: “They are fed male buffalo (bhainsa) meat and also provided water regularly. The food is thoroughly checked by the veterinarians before being served.”

When asked about media reports claiming Aasha, the four-year-old female cheetah named by PM Modi, being pregnant, Verma informed: “We don’t have any information or report about this.”

The Prime Minister is taking a keen interest in the project and had mentioned the cheetahs in his latest Mann Ki Baat since the species has made a comeback to India 70 years after it was declared extinct.

“People from many corners of the country expressed happiness over the return of Cheetahs, as many as 1.3 crore Indians are elated and filled with pride. A task force will monitor Cheetahs, on the basis of which we’ll decide when you can visit the cheetahs,” the Prime Minister said.

He has also asked people to suggest names for these Cheetahs.