The Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR), celebrated for its iconic one-horned rhinoceros population, officially commenced its 2023-24 tourist season on Sunday, in the presence of Chandra Mohan Patowary, State's Forest Minister.
A male Cheetah brought from Namibia to the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh last year seems to have taken fancy to a couple of nearby villages, as the feline has fled the national park for the third time in the past 15 days and reached the same villages again yesterday.
According to Forest Department officials, the five-year-old male Cheetah named ‘Obaan’ has been spotted in village Jorai located in the Bairaad tehsil of the Shivpuri district adjoining the Sheopur district in which the Kuno national park is located.
The Cheetah is wearing a collar through which the Forest Department officials locate its movements regularly. A team of forest officials is keeping vigil on the Cheetah and is ensuring that the feline is safe outside the park.
The forest staff is also sensitizing the villagers and making them aware of the feline’s presence so that the human population maintains a safe distance from the Cheetah.
According to Kuno National Park DFO Prakash Verma, the cheetah Obaan has been spotted in an agricultural field in Jorai village in the Bairaad region. This area is about 20 kilometres away from the Kuno jungles.
Obaan had slipped out of the national park for the first time on 2 April and went to village Jhar Baroda in the Bairaad region, about 20 kilometres away from the park.
The feline had returned to the park after about 10 hours.
However, it again went out of the park boundary the very next day and reached the same villages in the same area. It had roamed around in that area for almost four days, after which the forest department staff had tranquilized it to bring it back inside the national park on 6 April.
The national park’s core area is spread over a region of 748 sq km while its buffer zone stretches to 487 sq km area.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had released in quarantine the first group of eight cheetahs brought from Namibia into the Kuno National Park on his birthday on September 17 last year.
The second lot of twelve cheetahs imported from South Africa was released in the national park on February 18 this year, taking their total number to twenty.
Of them, one Namibian female cheetah, five-and-half-years old Sasha, died due to renal failure on 27 March.
Another Namibian female cheetah, three-year-old Siyaya gave birth to four cubs around 24 March and the cubs were spotted for the first time on 29 March.
The cheetahs from the two African nations have been brought to India under an ambitious inter-continental translocation programme to revive their population in India seven decades after they became extinct. The country’s last cheetah was shot dead in the Koriya district of present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947 and the species was declared extinct in India in 1952.