Days after two brother cheetahs, Freddie and Elton were released into a larger enclosure, under stage 2 of the acclimatisation plan of the wild cats, a third male cheetah named Oban was released in the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh on Friday, a senior forest official said.
Oban was released in a soft-release enclosure of 6 sq km and entered the bigger enclosure through a pathway developed between the two BOMAs (enclosures) for stress-free release, officials said.
Oban spent 63 days in quarantine and was released after Cheetah Task Force (CTF) found him fit for the wilderness. A Cheetah Task Force was formed by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for the management of cheetahs in KNP.
On November 5, Elton and Freddie, after spending 50 days in quarantine, were released in Kuno National Park.
“The cheetahs are adapting to the new home very well. We are enthralled and happy with the progress of cheetahs in Kuno. Elton and Freddie are killing prey and enjoying the bigger enclosure without any stress. Now, Oban has been released. We are checking the progress of cheetahs with the help of high-resolution cameras,” MP principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) JS Chauhan said.
Moreover, five female cheetahs will be released in the larger enclosure but only after the relocation of the leopard from one of the inner enclosures, a forest official said.
Sheopur divisional forest officer Prakash Verma said, “A team of leopard experts have been called to relocate the leopard as the animal has been dodging the forest officials for the past four months.”
Eight cheetahs – five females and three males – who were brought from Namibia arrived in India on September 17 as part of the programme to reintroduce the feline in India on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 72nd birthday.
The cheetahs from Namibia were translocated at Kuno National Park.