One of India's Precious Cheetahs Dies in Mating Attempt

3 of the creatures have now died
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2023 3:30 PM CDT
India Stumbles in Its Effort to Bring Back the Cheetah
A cheetah jumps inside a quarantine section before being relocated to India.   (AP Photo/Denis Farrell, File)

India's quest to repopulate its land with cheetahs has hit another snag. As CNN reported last month, the country's reintroduction program brought 20 cheetahs from Africa to India as part of an intercontinental effort to revive the big cat population there. But as the New York Times reports, a third cheetah has now died: A female named Daksha succumbed to injuries sustained during mating with two male cheetahs at Kuno National Park; a post-mortem report described her skull as having been "brutally crushed."

"It's normal for male cheetahs to behave violently with the female during mating and it's impossible for the monitoring team to interfere with the cats at that time," the park said in a statement, per the BBC. The Times reports Daksha's death has raised questions about whether Kuno provides the animals with adequate space. It measures fewer than 300 square miles; cheetahs typically spread out over thousands of square miles.

The other cheetahs to die apparently succumbed to natural causes: cardiac failure and what was thought to be a kidney ailment. Despite these setbacks, experts still seem optimistic about the program's future, and in late March, one of the cheetahs birthed four cubs, the first since the species disappeared from the country over seven decades ago. Efforts continue to bring in more cheetahs, with India aiming to introduce 50 big cats in total over a five-year period. (More India stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.