A male cheetah died at the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh today, making it the seventh big cat casualty there in nearly four months.

The monitoring team observed injuries on the cheetah’s neck around 11 AM today and alerted doctors, who inspected the animal and sedated him to treat the injuries.

“The male cheetah Tejas was found dead at around 2 PM. His injuries are being probed. The cause of death can be ascertained after an autopsy,” the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, JS Chouhan, said.

On March 27, a female Cheetah named Sasha died due to kidney ailment, on April 23, Uday died of cardio-pulmonary failure and on May 9, Daksha, a female cheetah, died after a violent interaction with a male during a mating attempt. Two cheetah cubs died of “extreme weather condition and dehydration” on May 25.

Earlier, the Centre denied any lapses behind the deaths of the six cheetahs – including three cubs – within two months at KNP. “There is no lapse behind any of the cheetah deaths. Even in the case of the deaths of the three cheetah cubs, global wildlife literature clearly mentions 90% per cent infant mortality among cheetahs,” said an official.

In May, following the six deaths, South African wildlife expert Vincent van der Merwe had predicted more deaths and said that the reintroduction project is going to see an even higher mortality over the next few months when the cheetahs would try to establish territories and come face to face with leopards and tigers at the park.

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