'Deer fed to Kuno cheetahs': Bishnoi community seeks PM's intervention
A controversy has erupted over the eight cheetahs brought in from Namibia and released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi into Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park last week. Following reports that deer were being fed to the cheetahs, a Bishnoi community organization has sought Modi's intervention to end the practice. It alleged that deer were being "dropped" into the park to feed the big cats.
- On Saturday, PM Modi released eight cheetahs into Kuno National Park (KNP) to mark his birthday.
- Now, the Bishnoi community has written to the prime minister, following concerns that "sacred" deer were being fed to these cheetahs.
- Notably, members of this community consider all animals and trees, particularly the blackbuck, as sacred and are reportedly even ready to risk their lives to protect them.
The Akhil Bhartiya Bishnoi Mahasabha—a Bishnoi community organization—expressed deep anguish in its letter to Modi after learning about the alleged practice of feeding deer to cheetahs at KNP. The organization noted it has been working hard to safeguard the species from various threats. It also criticized the government—which has reintroduced cheetahs into India—for ignoring wildlife species on the verge of extinction in our country.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kuldeep Bishnoi also voiced concern about the matter. "I request the central government to get the matter investigated in view of the species of deer which are on the verge of extinction in Rajasthan and the sentiments of Bishnoi society," he tweeted in Hindi. "If the information is found to be true...it should be stopped immediately," he added.
To recall, last month, there were reports of over 250 chital or spotted deer being brought into Kuno National Park for the cheetahs. Confirming the same, Madhya Pradesh's Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) JS Chauhan had told PTI, "We have put more than 250 chitals (spotted deer or axis deer) in the 'soft release enclosure' meant to acclimatize the cheetahs at the KNP."
To note, these eight cheetahs at the KNP, the first of 50 cheetahs to be reintroduced in India over the next five years, will be part of the founding population that will allow the species to spread in the country. The five female and three male cheetahs were selected following a thorough examination of their health and ability to hunt in the wild.