The reintroduction of 20 cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa to India’s Kuno National Park has faced some challenges, with three of the big cats dying in the process. However, according to Vincent van der Merwe, the manager of the Cheetah Metapopulation Project in South Africa, this level of mortality is expected given the difficulties of intercontinental reintroduction. Moreover, the number of cheetahs remaining is nearly half the size of the original founder population, which is a positive development.
Despite this success, Merwe has highlighted a new challenge that may arise soon – cheetahs escaping from the Kuno National Park’s boundaries. In order to address this, South African experts involved in the reintroduction project have recommended preparing alternative homes for cheetahs as soon as possible.
The Cheetah Metapopulation Project is a collaborative effort among several organizations to reintroduce cheetahs to parts of their historic range in Asia. The cheetahs in question were transported from southern Africa to India in the hope of creating a new population in the country.
Although the reintroduction has been successful so far, there are concerns about the long-term viability of the population. With cheetahs being known to travel long distances in search of prey, there is a risk of them wandering beyond the park’s boundaries and coming into conflict with humans or other wildlife. Therefore, the experts have recommended creating alternative homes for the cheetahs to reduce the risk of such conflicts.
While the reintroduction of cheetahs to Kuno National Park has faced some challenges, the efforts have been successful so far. The fact that almost half the founder population remains is a positive sign, and it is hoped that steps will be taken to address the issue of cheetahs potentially escaping the park’s boundaries to ensure the long-term survival of the population.