Hope For Success: Cheetah Delivers 3 Three Cubs Again
BHOPAL, (IANS) – Namibian cheetah Jwala on January 16 delivered three cubs, and with the arrival of these new guests at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park (KNP), the number of the big cats again rose to 20 – 13 adults and seven cubs.
Jwala had delivered three cubs in March last year – the first time a cheetah cub was born on Indian soil after 70 years since the fastest-moving animals were declared extinct in the country. However, three out of four cubs died in June last year due to heat stroke, and the only one survived. At that time, Jwala was known by her Namibian birth name Siyaya.
The Union Forest and Wildlife Ministry in April 2023 had given all cheetahs their Indian names and therefore, Siyaya became Jwala.
Before Jwala, another Namibian cheetah Aasha had delivered three cubs on January 3
Significantly, these newly born cubs have not just given rise to the hope for the success of India’s ambitious ‘Project Cheetah’ but also restored the number of cheetahs to the total that was transported from Namibia and South Africa.
India has transported a total of 20 cheetahs in two batches – eight from Namibia on September 17, 2022, and 12 cheetahs from South Africa on February 18, 2023.
However, seven of them have died so far at KNP due to varied reasons like infection, stress, and cardiac arrest since then, as well as three of the cubs born to Jwala, taking the total to 10 cheetah deaths since March 2023.
Shaurya aka Freddie, the most flamboyant of the lot and a bundle of energy, was the most recent to die suddenly on January 16.
The death of seven out of 20 adult cheetahs transported to KNP since March 2023 means that a total of 35 percent of cheetahs have died so far.
India’s hope for the re-introduction of the fastest-moving wild animal in its forests would lie in the remaining 13 adult cheetahs and more importantly, the survival of seven cubs born at Kuno.
Last year, when back-to-back cheetah deaths were reported from Kuno, questions were raised, however, the Union Forest and Wildlife Ministry and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which is the nodal agency for ‘Project Cheetah’, had maintained that the survival of 50 percent cheetahs, would be considered a success for the project.
Cheetah Shaurya’s death came as a mournful situation, however, 2024 has so far begun with good news as a total of six cubs have been born in 20 days.
Now, all eyes are on whether the new mother Jwala will take care of her newborns as she has still not interacted with the first cub and it can be due to a host of reasons. It is very difficult to say if the mother will take care of the cubs, according to sources at the KNP. However, wildlife officials are hopeful that the remaining cubs will survive since they were conceived in the winter months and will have a head start of a few months before the brutal summer conditions punish the Kuno landscape.
Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav shared the news on X, saying: “Kuno’s new cubs! A Namibian Cheetah named Jwala has given birth to three cubs. This comes just weeks after Namibian Cheetah Aasha gave birth to her cubs.”
“Congratulations to all wildlife frontline warriors and wildlife lovers across the country. May Bharat’s wildlife thrive.”