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Concerns were expressed about the future of Project Cheetah in India after the deaths of two additional cheetah babies in the Kuno National Park. According to South African wildlife specialist Vincent van der Merwe, the death rate of these cheetahs after their reintroduction would rise in the next months.
He also mentioned the possibility of the death rate rising to 50% in the first year. “We predict a 50% death rate in the first year and know that just 10 will survive the first time of discharge. There would be plenty of prey available for them, he said.
He claims that when these large cats attempt to establish territories and come into contact with leopards and tigers within the national park, the number of fatalities would increase. He said that although the latest fatalities were within the allowed range, a committee of specialists who assessed the initiative believed that murdering female cheetahs by males during courting was inappropriate.
Merwe is directly linked to the much-lauded initiative by the Indian government to repopulate cheetahs in the nation.
How was India able to preserve cheetahs?
To prevent other animals from gaining access to resources and lessen overall danger to these reintroduced cheetahs, the wildlife specialist proposed fencing the areas.
Cheetah reintroduction in an unfenced reserve, according to him, has never been effective. Africa made 15 attempts but failed.
Experts, including the Supreme Court, have advised moving cheetahs to other sanctuaries due to worries over Kuno Park's lack of room and logistical assistance.
Merwe suggested bringing two to three cheetahs to Mukundra Hills so they could reproduce.
“Mukundra Hills has a complete fence. Cheetahs will thrive there, as we are aware. The only issue is that it is currently understocked. As a result, you'll need to bring some chinkara and black buck. We will have three fenced reserves at that point, and we will be unquestionably winning, he said, when the fencing at Gandhisagar and Nauradehi is finished.
Death following migration is common
The cheetahs' deaths after their move, according to the wildlife specialist, are common. The actual risk is that they will perish outside of the walled confines.
“There, you may anticipate hunting-related mortalities. Of course, cheetahs will continue to form territories, engage in conflict, and even murder one another in order to gain control of territory and access to females. Leopards will come into contact with them. Now, tigers may be seen roaming Kuno. He said, “The worst fatalities are still to come.
According to him, the deaths of the three adults and three cubs are entirely normal and fall within the range of the estimated mortality rate.

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