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Nambian Cheetah Aasha Gives Birth To 3 Cubs At Kuno National Park In Big Boost To India’s Big Cat Project

Union Minister Bhupender Yadav shared the news on social media sending delight on the faces of nature lovers across the country.

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Three newborn cheetahs at Kuno National Park.
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Three cubs were born to Namibian cheetah Asha at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, Union Minister Bhupender Yadav said on Wednesday.

Taking to micro-blogging site X, Yadav said: “Purrs in the wild! Thrilled to share that Kuno National Park has welcomed three new members. The cubs have been born to Namibian Cheetah Aasha. This is a roaring success for Project Cheetah, envisioned by PM Shri @narendramodiji to restore ecological balance. My big congrats to all experts involved in the project, the Kuno wildlife officials, and wildlife enthusiasts across India.”

What is Project Cheetah?

The Government of India declared cheetahs extinct in 1952 and the government lead by Prime Minister Narendra Modi re-introduced cheetahs in the country after almost 75 years.

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During PM Modi's visit to South Africa for the BRICS summit in August 2022, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa lauded the initiative to introduce cheetahs in India.

PM Modi released wild cheetahs, which had become extinct in India - in Kuno National Park, on September 17 2022.

Cheetahs - brought from Namibia - were introduced in India under Project Cheetah, which is the world's first inter-continental large wild carnivore translocation project.

Twenty cheetahs were relocated from Namibia and South Africa to Kuno National Park in two batches - in September 2022 and in February 2023.

Twelve cheetahs from South Africa arrived on February 18, 2023 in Kuno National Park after South Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the re-introduction of Cheetahs in India. Eight cheetahs were brought from Namibia and were released by PM Modi.

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Subsequently, radio collars were installed in all the cheetahs and they were monitored through satellite also.

‘Cry’ over collars:

Nine cheetahs died in Kuno National Park 2023 since March this year. It was said the cause of cheetah deaths was radio collars around their necks which is causing infection in them.

However, MoEF&CC, in a press release had rebutted the claims.

It had said the reports of deaths caused due to radio collars were speculation and not based on scientific evidence. 

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the apex body entrusted with the implementation of Project Cheetah, which comes under the ministry, had also said that “all mortalities are due to natural causes”.

“There are reports in the media attributing these cheetah deaths to other reasons including their radio collars, etc. Such reports are not based on any scientific evidence but are speculation and hearsay,” it had said.
 

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