Tragic Death Toll Rises as Cheetah Cubs Succumb to Heat in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park

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In a devastating turn of events, two more cheetah cubs born to Jwala, a Namibian cheetah residing in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park (KNP), have tragically died due to dehydration caused by scorching temperatures. These fatalities occurred just two days after the loss of one of the four cubs, bringing the death toll of cheetahs in KNP to a heart-wrenching six in the past two months, including three cheetahs translocated from African countries. Jwala, previously known as Siyaya, gave birth to the cubs on March 27 as part of India’s pioneering inter-continental translocation project.

Sadly, the intense heatwave that struck Kuno on May 23, with temperatures soaring to a staggering 47 degrees Celsius, resulted in the dehydration and subsequent demise of the malnourished cubs. The remaining three cubs’ health also deteriorated, prompting immediate intervention and medical treatment, although only one remains in critical condition. Madhya Pradesh’s chief wildlife warden, JS Chauhan, attributed the cause of death to the extreme heat and emphasized the adverse impact on the cubs’ health due to their malnourished state. The forest department has been closely monitoring the situation, and experts and veterinarians are tirelessly working to stabilize the fourth cub’s condition. Amid the sorrowful news, questions have been raised regarding the level of vigilance and surveillance over the cubs.

South African veterinarian Adrian Tordiffe expressed that with enhanced vigilance, these cubs could have potentially been saved, underscoring the high mortality rate of cheetah cubs in Africa.Currently, Kuno National Park houses 18 cheetahs, including one surviving cub. Six cheetahs have been released into the wild, while the remaining 12, along with the cub, are housed in a larger enclosure spanning 6 square kilometers. Efforts are underway to ensure the well-being and conservation of these majestic felines, with coordination and consultation with cheetah experts from Namibia and South Africa.

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