A third cheetah, ‘Daksha’, died on May 9; officials claim the death occurred during mating

A female cheetah, ‘Daksha’, was found dead by officials at the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh on the morning of May 9, 2023, a press statement by the park authorities said.

Daksha was found injured around 10.45 am by the monitoring team at KNP. She was immediately rushed for treatment. But the veterinary team declared her dead around noon.

The press statement mentioned that Daksha was released from the enclosure number 1, while other two male cheetahs, Agni and Vayu, were released from enclosure number 7.

On April 30, a meeting of officials presided by Amit Malik, principal chief conservator of forest, Qamar Qureshi from the Wildlife Institute of India and Vincent van der Merwe from South Africa’s Cheetah Metapopulation Initiative took place where the decision was made to mate the animals.

The animals were released on May 1, after the decision had been taken.

According to the statement, Daksha sustained injuries during the mating process. The officials claimed that intervention during such an act is close to impossible. Daksha’s body has, meanwhile, been sent for post-mortem.

Daksha is the third cheetah to die within a span of two months. Earlier, on April 24, male cheetah Uday was reported dead after suffering cardiac failure. The post-mortem report, which arrived last week, revealed that the animal died of “localised area of potential haemorrhage”.

In March, Namibian cheetah Sasha died following a prolonged fight against renal disease.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had released eight Namibian cheetahs into a boma in KNP on September 17, 2022, his 72nd birthday. On February 18, 2023, 12 cheetahs were brought from South Africa to Kuno.

On March 29, Siyaya, a female from Namibia, gave birth to a litter of four cubs. Two Namibian cheetahs named oban and asha also strayed from KNP although both were brought back. On May 1, the pug marks of a tiger from Ranthambore were found near the cheetahs’ enclosure in KNP.