Within 24 hours of being released from quarantine, the two male cheetah siblings from the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, who were placed in a larger enclosure, made their first kill. Officials from the forest department said that between Sunday evening at 6 and Monday am, the cheetahs hunted down a cheetal or spotted deer.
After being quarantined for almost 50 days, Freddie and Elton were the first pair to be let loose into the bigger enclosure on November 5. ‘The cheetahs making their first kill within 24 hours is beyond expectations,’ a senior forest official told The Indian Express. ‘This signifies that the big cats are absolutely fit and the worries of these cheetahs losing any muscle strength are unfounded.’
Forest officials said they are releasing the remaining five cheetahs in stages after Freddie and Elton were the first pair to be let out of their quarantine. Before releasing another cheetah, the authorities will keep an eye on the two for around two days using satellite collars and cameras. One of the female cheetahs, Asha, who was thought to be pregnant, is still under observation by forest officials; she will be released after November 10.
After the last one was slain in 1947, the cheetahs were proclaimed extinct in India in 1952. The government of India has translocated eight of these large cats, including five females and three males, from Namibia as part of Project Cheetah in an effort to reintroduce them to the country. The five female cheetahs range in age from two to five years, while the four male cheetahs are between 4.5 and 5.5 years old. The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) operates a 58,000-hectare private reserve near Otjiwarongo in Namibia where Elton and Freddie have been residing.
On September 17, three cheetahs were released at Kuno-Palpur National Park, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the event as historic. He was happy to see the cheetahs doing well after being released into their larger habitat on Saturday.