Second cheetah brought from Africa dies

A cheetah brought from South Africa to India has died, wildlife officials said, the second such death within a month in a country where the big spotted cat was declared extinct seven decades ago.

So far, 12 cheetahs from South Africa and eight from Namibia have been brought to India after its top court ruled in 2020 that the species should be reintroduced.

The male cheetah, named Uday, was found unwell in an enclosure in central India's Kuno National Park and tranquilised for treatment, but died later in the day, forest official J. S. Chauhan said in a statement issued on April 23.

Tests are being conducted to determine the cause of death, Amit Mallick of India's national tiger conservation program told AFP. In March, a Namibian cheetah named Sasha died of a kidney ailment.

Authorities said they were not informed of the ailment before the Namibian group was flown to India six months earlier.

The reintroduction of cheetahs is a major prestige project for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who presided over the release of the animals into an enclosure after their arrival.

The program aims to bring in about 100 cheetahs over the next decade.

The last Asiatic cheetah to roam the sub-continent was believed to have been hunted down in 1947 by an Indian prince, and was declared officially extinct in the country in 1952. The spotted feline's reintroduction in India is the first intercontinental relocation of the planet's fastest land animal.


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