May 25, 2023 –Two cheetah cubs have died and a third is in a critical condition at a national park in India’s Madhya Pradesh state.
Another cub died in the national park on Tuesday.
The cubs were the first to be born in India in more than 70 years after the animals were declared officially extinct in the country.
A female cheetah translocated from Namibia to India last year had given birth to them in March.
Following this, the female cheetah and her three cubs were put under observation, authorities at the park said in a press note.
Temperature in the park had hit nearly 47C on Tuesday and the cubs did not seem to be in “normal condition,” they said.
The cubs were found to be weak, underweight and extremely dehydrated. Two cubs died on Thursday despite steps taken to save them, the park authorities said.
The last cub of the litter is in critical condition and under treatment, they said.
Cheetahs were officially declared extinct by the Indian government in 1952. They were reintroduced to the country last year as part of an ambitious reintroduction programme to repopulate the species.
Wildlife experts had welcomed the reintroduction of the animal but some also warned of potential risks to them from other predators and not having enough prey.
Eight cheetahs were translocated from Namibia to country in September 2022 while 12 were brought in from South Africa in February 2023.
Of these, three cheetahs have died in the past two months. The death of the three cubs takes the toll to six.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had expressed concerns over the animal deaths and asked the federal government to consider shifting the cats to an alternate location.