Cheetah Death Toll Rises to 8 in Kuno National Park

Bhopal: A male cheetah, Suraj, was found dead at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh on Friday, making it the eighth big cat casualty there in nearly four months.

Officials said they are trying to ascertain the exact cause of Suraj’s death, but they suspect that he may have died from a fight with another cheetah.

The death of Suraj is yet another blow to the Centre’s cheetah reintroduction programme, which was launched in September last year.

In the past four months, seven other cheetahs have died at the park, including three cubs. The cause of death of the other cheetahs has not been officially released, but officials have said that they died from a variety of factors, including kidney ailments, cardio-pulmonary failure, and violent interactions with other animals.

The Centre has denied any lapses behind the deaths of the cheetahs, but wildlife experts have warned that the reintroduction project is facing a number of challenges, including a lack of prey and competition from other predators.

South African wildlife expert Vincent van der Merwe has predicted that more cheetahs will die in the coming months, as they try to establish territories and come face to face with leopards and tigers at the park.

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