Two more cheetah cubs have died due to rising temperature at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.
One cub had died two days ago as the day temperature stood between 46-47 degrees Celsius. Following this, the remaining three were kept under observation and despite all rescue efforts, two of them succumbed to the heat on Thursday.
Forest Department Chief Conservator JS Chouhan said the cause of their death is due to immense weakness and dehydration in the scorching heat. Further details of the cause can be given after the post-mortem is done, he said. The sole surviving cub is critical and is being treated by a team of experts and veterinarians, said forest officials.
Twitter was awash with reactions. Some users argued the cheetah cubs that had been brought by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from South Africa were unable to adjust to the new environment. Another user suggested the cheetah cubs should have been sent to the Mukundara Hills National Park in neighbouring Rajasthan. Another decried the decision to bring cheetahs from Africa and supplant them in India and expect them to survive the unique conditions, altogether a wrong move. Another man said he was left speechless at the tragedy.
Some said politics was the only reason that the poor animals had to come from Namibia and South Africa, respectively, only to die in India. They got a response from another user who claimed cheetahs have the lowest survival rate in the world ranging from 5% to 10% and that the issue should not be politicised.
The Supreme Court had expressed concern over the death of three cheetahs in less than two months after their translocation from South Africa and Namibia to Madhya Pradesh and said they could have been moved to Rajasthan instead to better their survival rate.
In his reaction to the deaths among the translocated animals, South African wildlife expert Vincent Van Der Merwe said there will be higher mortalities in the next few months when cheetahs try to establish territory and face challenges from leopards and tigers that have already made the Kuno National Park their habitat.
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