Kuno cheetah travels to Rajasthan’s Baran

Area could be developed as 2nd home of feline

Bhopal: Wildlife enthusiasts in Hadoti, Rajasthan are delighted by the unexpected visit of cheetah ‘Agni’ to the Jaitpura (Kelwara) forests in Baran district. The feline came all the way from Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park.

Although the Kuno team successfully tranquilized and returned the cheetah, its journey to Baran suggests the area’s suitability for cheetahs. The Shergarh region in Baran could potentially be developed to accommodate cheetahs, considering Kuno’s limited 748 square km space, which is deemed insufficient for cheetahs.

Habitat Preferences of Cheetahs

Cheetahs are known to thrive in vast plains, exhibiting a preference for open landscapes, semi-deserts, extensive grasslands, and dense bushes. Namibian cheetahs, for instance, inhabit grasslands, savanna forests, large grassy expanses, and mountainous terrains.

Reports indicate that the typical territory for a female cheetah ranges from 50 to 350 square km, while male cheetahs often form groups with a home range of 750 to 1000 km. Given these territorial dynamics, only a limited number of leopards can coexist within Kuno’s 750 square km area, making Shergarh a viable option for cheetah settlement.

Exploration of Possibilities

During the initial stages of Project Cheetah, experts, led by wildlife scientist Yaduvendra Devsingh, explored potential settlement areas for cheetahs. Their findings deemed the region suitable for cheetah habitation.

Dr. Sudhir Gupta of the Hamlog organization likens the cheetah’s arrival in Baran to the significance of a broken tail tiger entering the Mukundara Reserve. With the cheetah venturing from Kuno to Kelwara’s forests, areas like Gandhi Sagar, Shergarh, and Mukundara are considered favorable for cheetahs.

Baran’s Forest Conservator, Deepak Gupta, affirms that the area is conducive to cheetahs habitation, with Kuno not being too distant. Khandela and Banjhamli are highlighted as particularly favorable, while Shergarh and the Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve have been historically regarded as suitable for cheetahs.

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