Deccan Chronicle

Cheetah Deaths: MP Wildlife Warden Transferred

Deccan Chronicle.| Rabindra Nath Choudhury

Published on: July 17, 2023 | Updated on: July 17, 2023
A cheetah after being released inside a special enclosure of the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. (PTI)

A cheetah after being released inside a special enclosure of the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. (PTI)

BHOPAL: In the aftermath of the tragic death of eight African cheetahs in Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh, the Chief Wildlife Warden of Madhya Pradesh, Jasbir Singh Chauhan, a highly experienced 1987 batch Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer, was relieved of his duties. He was removed from his position as Chief Wildlife Warden and Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) (wildlife) and subsequently appointed as PCCF (production). The state forest department issued a notification confirming these changes in the evening.

These decisions were made in response to the recent spate of cheetah deaths in Kuno National Park, where eight African cheetahs lost their lives over the past four months. Jasbir Singh Chauhan, a distinguished conservationist and recipient of two esteemed international conservation awards, the Sanctuary Asia Wildlife Service Award in 2002 and the Award for Excellence in Active Wildlife Management in 2016, has been succeeded by Aseem Srivastav, a seasoned IFS officer from the 1988 batch.

Sources indicate that further transfers may take place within the department in the coming days. Interestingly, Chauhan's transfer occurred shortly after his return from a three-day tour of Kuno National Park, during which he assessed the situation following the death of two South African cheetahs within a span of 72 hours last week.

Bhupender Yadav, the Union minister for forest, environment, and climate change, had previously announced the formation of a dedicated team to investigate the deaths of the eight cheetahs, including three cubs, in the park.
In a related development on Monday, the government proposed several measures to protect cheetahs in Kuno. Field officers in the park have been instructed to enhance surveillance efforts to safeguard the remaining 15 adult cheetahs and one cub. Morever, plans are underway to establish a cheetah research centre within Kuno National Park. Additionally, the government intends to expand Kuno National Park by incorporating additional areas to create suitable territories for the cheetahs. It has been reported that the government plans to increase the number of ground staff in the park by deploying additional personnel.

Furthermore, the government has committed to accelerating the development of a second habitat for cheetahs in the Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, also located in Madhya Pradesh. To assess the situation and evaluate progress, an official review meeting was conducted in Kuno on Monday.

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