What killed cheetah Uday at Kuno National Park? Mystery lingers
BHOPAL: What killed cheetah Uday at Kuno? The mystery lingers. Experts are investigating several possibilities, particularly snakebite, and are hoping that the autopsy report will clear the air.
National Tiger Conservation Authority inspector-general Amit Mallik visited Kuno on Monday and the necropsy was completed in his presence. Blood samples were sent for forensic examination.
Uday, a wild male captured close to the Matlabas River in the Waterberg region of South Africa, was around six years old. It was translocated in a batch of 12 on February 18.
On Sunday, wildlife experts monitoring the cheetahs grew alarmed when Uday was seen staggering about, its neck bent low. It was tranquilised for immediate treatment but died within hours. Project Cheetah officials were baffled as Uday had been given a clean bill of health the previous day.
The back-to-back deaths of two cheetahs within a month have sparked concern.
CCTV: Cheetah ‘Uday’ dies due to mysterious ailment in MP’s Kuno National Park
“As scientists, we advocate waiting for the necropsy results before coming to any conclusion. What we know at this point is the death happened suddenly, just hours after the symptoms were first noticed, and despite Uday receiving immediate veterinary care. We want to ensure we understand the problem so we can take action to avoid preventable deaths. But at this time, we do not know much by way of fact, and we wish to wait until the necropsy results are available beforecommenting further,” Laurie Marker, executive director of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), told TOI. “This is a long-term endeavour and losses are inevitable, but we already have cubs, and this is an early indicator of project viability,” sheadded.
The Namibian cheetahs adapted to the region quickly, are hunting independently and thriving on Indian prey, she said. “The learning curve is steep and has beenswiftly built. We have faith in the Indian team and are confident in project success,” Markeradded.
Professor Adrian SW Tordiffe, veterinary wildlife specialist and editor of Journal of the South African Veterinary Association, had the same view. “Some cheetah deaths, while tragic, are not a sign that the project is failing. When establishing a new population, some animals will adapt and survive, and others will not. That is just part of life and while we don’t want any animal to suffer, we have to accept that some things will go wrongfor some individuals because we cannot control every aspect of their life and sometimes nature is brutal,” Tordiffe told TOI.
Some others speculate that incorrect food could also be a possible reason.Watch CCTV: Cheetah ‘Uday’ dies due to mysterious ailment in MP’s Kuno National Park