One more leopard chased away from enclosure meant for cheetahs in MP national park

Sheopur, Aug 30 (PTI) Forest personnel have managed to chase away one more leopard roaming in the special enclosure meant for the cheetahs arriving from South Africa and Namibia in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno Palpur National Park (KNP), an official said on Tuesday.

Five leopards had last month entered the special enclosure spread over five square km, reserved for acclimatization of the cheetahs when they arrive.

Two of the leopards were chased away earlier and one was captured last week.

Another leopard was forced to leave the fenced enclosure on Monday, Sheopur’s divisional forest officer Prakash Verma told PTI.

Efforts were on to trace the fifth one, he added.

Trained elephants and drummers have also been deployed to ensure that leopards leave the enclosure, said a park source.

The cheetahs would be transported from South Africa and Namibia as part of an ambitious translocation-cum-reintroduction project though the exact dateline for their arrival is not known yet.

Cheetahs became extinct in India in 1952.

The ‘African Cheetah Introduction Project in India’ was conceived in 2009 though it picked up pace in the last few years.

Verma said eight cages and more than 100 trap cameras have been installed in the enclosure and outside it for monitoring purposes. There is enough prey-base for the cheetahs in the enclosure, he added.

Preparations for their arrival are underway on a war-footing with the Public Works Department readying two helipads inside the KNP, he added.

The park is spread over 748 square kilometers.

The cheetahs will need time to acclimatize in the new habitat after their transcontinental journey.

Earlier this month, the Indian High Commissioner in Windhoek, Namibia, had informed that the cheetahs who are potential candidates for transfer underwent their first health examination by a team of international experts from the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia.

While India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Namibian government for the import of cheetahs, it is also in the process of inking agreements with private game reserves in South Africa and the government there for importing more of the big cats, officials had earlier said. PTI COR MAS GK KRK KRK

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