Since Project Cheetah was initiated in India, it has been an epicenter of controversies all around in several ways.
Be it the lack of information being shared with the experts as per their claims, or the orders preventing them from speaking in the media about the situation, or the massive amount of confusion revolving around the causes of deaths of the Cheetahs.
As of 4 August, after the death of Dharti (Tiblisi) on 2nd August, 9 cheetahs (9 adults and 3 cubs) had died in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park. The death of 30% of the 20 translocated cheetahs in just over four days raises concerns.
The animals died as a consequence of radio collar-caused diseases, according to experts from the Cheetah Project Steering Committee. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which oversees Project Cheetah, stated the next day that all cheetahs died of "natural causes”.
It is worth noting that there is also a concern among the experts regarding the use of radio collars that increase that has led to skin infections, attracting flies and parasites, causing maggot infestations and septicaemia, which is a serious blood infection and has claimed the lives of a couple of cheetahs in Kuno
In a statement to Parliament on July 20, the Minister of State for Environment, Forests, and Climate Change stated that three cheetahs, Daksha, Tejas, and Suraj, passed away as a result of "traumatic shock," but did not elaborate on what caused the traumatic shock in the first place.
Experts believe that multiple deaths, including Suraj's and the three cubs that died from heat stress, may have been avoided.
Project Cheetah, India's massive transcontinental cheetah translocation plan, intends to reintroduce African cheetahs in specific grassland regions across the country in an effort to reintroduce the species.
The plan is to bring in five to ten animals every year for the following decade until a self-sustaining population of roughly 35 is created. In the past, India was home to a separate subspecies, the Asiatic cheetah.
Twenty African cheetahs from Namibia and the Republic of South Africa arrived in Kuno last September and February as part of Project Cheetah. Many of them were over time released into the Park's wild.
Due to reasons including territorial battles and venturing outside of the National Park and into nearby agricultural areas, some were recovered and returned to bomas or tiny enclosures within the National Park.