Missing female cheetah captured after 22 days; all 15 wild cats moved to enclosures at Kuno
The female cheetah had gone missing after her radio collar stopped functioning on July 21. The wild cat was caught in the Dhoret range of the Kuno National Park.
A South African female cheetah that went untraceable in the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh's Sheopur district since her radio collar stopped working on July 21, was captured on Sunday after a 22-day search operation, officials said.
The cheetah, Nirva, was caught at around 10 am in Dhoret range of the Kuno National Park (KNP), after which a health check-up was conducted on her, they said.
An intense search for the female feline was on for the last 22 days after her radio collar stopped functioning on July 21, a release issued by the Chief Wildlife Warden of the Madhya Pradesh forest department said.
More than 100 field staff, including officers, veterinarians and cheetah trackers were searching for the spotted cat day and night, it said.
Besides the team on ground, two drone teams, one dog squad and available elephants were deployed in the search operation. An area of 15-20 square kilometres was being searched, it said.
In addition to this, local villagers were informed about Nirva and any information received about the feline from villagers was being checked and verified immediately, the release said.
On August 12, information about the cheetah's location was received from the satellite. It gave information about her location on August 11 evening, it stated.
"A search team was immediately sent to the spot and with the help of a drone team and dog squad, a team of veterinarians was able to finally trace Nirva in the evening, but could not capture her," it said.
Nirva looked healthy and was moving, it said, adding that a decision was taken to restart the operation on Sunday morning as it was getting dark. Drone teams were given the task of keeping track of Nirva's location throughout the night.
The search operation started again at 4 am on Sunday as per her location provided by drone teams. It took nearly six hours before Nirva could be captured, it said.
Nirva is healthy and has been kept inside a boma (enclosure) for a further health check-up, the release added.
All 15 cheetahs (seven males, seven females and one female cub) at the KNP are now kept in bomas. They are healthy and continuously being monitored on health parameters by Kuno's team of veterinarians, it said.
Under the Cheetah Reintroduction Project, eight Namibian cheetahs - five female and three male - were released into enclosures at the KNP on September 17 last year. In February, 12 more cheetahs arrived at KNP from South Africa.
In March this year, four cubs were born to a Namibian cheetah named Jwala, but three of them died in May.
Since March, six of the adult cheetahs have died due to various reasons, taking the total death count of felines, including three cubs, to nine.