As the eight cheetahs brought from Namibia try to acclimatize to their new environment in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park, experts are monitoring them from a hole in an attic near their quarantine enclosures to ensure that human contact is kept to a minimum intervene, said a forest official.
All of the cheetahs — five females and three males, ranging in age from 30 to 66 months — are in good health and under constant monitoring by experts, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Prakash Kumar Verma told PTI on Tuesday.
The eight cats – named Freddy, Alton, Savannah, Sasha, Obaan, Asha, Cibili and Saisa – are staying in six quarantine pens and will stay there for a month, he said.
The KNP covers an area of 750 km² and is located on the north side of the Vindhyachal mountains.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi released them from Namibia, 8,000km from their hometown, to KNP quarantine enclosures in Sheopur district on Saturday, as part of a project to revive the population of the animal, which went extinct in India in 1952.
Some members of the African expert team have returned after witnessing the cheetahs’ great welcome in their new home and ensuring they are now well taken care of, officials said.
Namibian experts, including the veterinarian Dr. Ana Vincent and two others who brought the cheetahs here are currently staying at the KNP while other members of the team have left the site, Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Uttam Kumar Sharma told PTI.
The Indian veterinarians Dr. Jitendra Jatav and Dr. Omkar Anchal from Madhav National Park in Sheopur is monitoring the cheetahs along with Namibian experts, DFO Verma said.
“The experts monitor the cheetahs’ movements from an attic located 50 to 100 meters from the enclosures to ensure the cats don’t sense any human presence nearby. The attic is covered with curtains and the movements of the cheetahs are observed a hole,” he said.
The Namibian team also brought health kits for the carnivores, he said, adding that kits are also available here from the park administration.
A plan has been put in place to monitor the cheetahs and keep them in good health, he said.
Under the protocol, the cheetahs must be quarantined for a month each before and after they move from one continent to another, he said.
They would be fed buffalo meat, according to experts, he said, adding that all the cats appeared cheerful and in good spirits in their new homes.
They were served food on Sunday night for the first time since arriving in India from the African country on Saturday, an official had previously said.
These animals are thought to feed every three days, he added.
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