A cheetah strayed into an agricultural field adjoining a village near Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur district on Sunday morning, an official said.
Oban, one of the eight cheetahs brought from Namibia in September last year, strayed into the field near Baroda village, some 15-20 kilometres from KNP, from the free range area of the park into which he was released last month, Sheopur divisional forest officer (DFO) P K Verma told PTI.
“As per the signals from its collar device, the cheetah was moving towards the village from Saturday night. It is sitting at the spot and a police team is monitoring the situation and keeping villagers away. Forest department staff are trying to send it back into the park area,” he said.
Forest department officials also shared a video in which staffers can be seen trying to coax Oban to get back into the forest. So far, four out of eight cheetahs brought from Namibia to KNP in September, 2022, have been released in the wild (free range area) from hunting enclosures.
Oban and Asha were released into the wild on March 11, while Elton and Freddie, also known as “rockstars” due to their names, were allowed to move into the free range area on March 22.
Eight Namibian cheetahs, comprising five females and three males, were brought to KNP as part of an ambitious reintroduction programme of the species and were released into special enclosures on September 17 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
One of them, Sasha, died of a kidney ailment on March 27, while another, Siyaya, gave birth to four cubs, which were first spotted on March 29. A set of 12 cheetahs, comprising seven males and five females, were brought in from South Africa on February 18 this year.