South Africa is flying cheetahs to India and Mozambique as part of efforts to reintroduce the distinctively spotted cats in regions where their population has dwindled.
Four cheetahs captured at reserves in South Africa have been flown to Mozambique this week after being held in quarantine for about a month and cleared for travel.
Conservationists are preparing to fly 12 more cheetahs, reputed to be the world’s fastest land mammals, to India next month.
Speaking shortly after the cheetahs going to Mozambique were tranquilized and placed into crates, wildlife veterinarian Andy Frasier told reporters that the relocations are tough for the animals.
“It’s a very stressful process for the cats to be in a boma [livestock enclosure] environment because they have nowhere to go whilst we are darting them,” Frasier said of shooting the cats with darts of tranquilizers. “We need to use our drug doses very carefully and make sure that we give them enough drugs to anesthetize them safely.”
“They have woken up nicely in their crates and they are all relaxed enough that we are happy for them to leave in their transport,” he said.
The team is preparing for the larger and more challenging relocation of cheetahs to India, which would require the cats to travel a much longer distance with stops in commercial airports, Frasier said.
Those cheetahs would be treated with a tranquilizer that lasts for three to five days during their travel, he said.
There are two subspecies of cheetahs. Those that once roamed in Asia were declared extinct in India in 1952 and are now found only in Iran.
Since then there have been efforts to reintroduce these cats to India’s savannahs.
Initially the plan was to bring in cheetahs from Iran, but now they are being moved from southern African countries.
In this restocking effort, Namibia is contributing eight cheetahs, which are to be flown to India this month, said Vincent van der Merwe, manager of the Cheetah Metapopulation Initiative.
South Africa would send an additional 12 cheetahs to India next month, he said.
“For a genetically viable population in India in the long-term you need at least 500 individuals, so every year we will send eight to 12 animals, to top them up, to increase numbers, to bring in new genetics until they have a viable population,” Van der Merwe said.
Indian officials say that the move would aid global cheetah conservation efforts, as their range in Africa is limited.
The plan is for the cats to be kept in large enclosures in central Indian forests, protected from other predators such as leopards and bears, to give them time to get used to their new home.
The enclosures have prey — including deer and antelope — which scientists hope the cheetahs would hunt.
After a few months of close monitoring, the cheetahs would be radio-collared and released.
LOST AT SEA: Survivors of a sunken Cambodian ship said they floated for two days in open waters, while a UN official said that traffickers might continue undeterred Chinese survivors from a boat that sank near a Cambodian island, killing three people and leaving eight missing, said they embarked on what they believed would be a short-term fishing job and ended up without food and water aboard the vessel, and their belongings were taken away. Cambodian authorities said on Friday they rescued 21 people one day after the boat small wooden fishing vessel sank near Koh Tang, a Cambodian island close to the maritime border with Vietnam. Nine more people were rescued by the Vietnamese and three bodies were recovered by Cambodia, leaving eight people still missing, Preah Sihanouk provincial
TACIT APPROVAL: While the mainland sticks to its ‘zero COVID’ policy, the Chinese leadership appears to back Hong Kong’s shift to home health monitoring Hong Kong wants to ease COVID-19 rules like mandatory hotel quarantine that have made travel difficult for nearly three years, Chief Executive John Lee (李家超) said yesterday, as mainland Chinese officials signaled their approval. The number of infections in Hong Kong has fallen to about 6,000 a day, creating room to reconsider the measures that have crimped the territory’s competitiveness, Lee told reporters at a weekly briefing. Hotel quarantine will be replaced with seven days of home health monitoring, the South China Morning Post reported, though it said the change would not be announced until all the details have been determined. The
UNREST: Images posted online showed women removing their headscarves in defiance of religious law, with some even setting them on fire or symbolically cutting their hair Protests spread to 15 cities across Iran overnight over the death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the country’s “morality police,” state media reported yesterday, adding that four police officers were injured and one “police assistant” died from injuries on Tuesday in the southern city of Shiraz. In the fifth night of street rallies, police used tear gas and made arrests to disperse crowds of up to 1,000 people, the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said. Demonstrators blockaded streets, hurled stones at security forces, set fire to police vehicles and garbage bins, and chanted anti-government slogans, it added. “On Tuesday evening,
Ukraine is now deploying captured Russian tanks to solidify its gains in the northeast amid an ongoing counteroffensive, a Washington-based think tank said yesterday, as Kyiv vowed to push further into territories occupied by Moscow. The Institute for the Study of War, citing a Russian claim, said that Ukraine had been using left-behind Russian T-72 tanks as it tries to push into the Russian-occupied region of Luhansk. “The initial panic of the counteroffensive led Russian troops to abandon higher-quality equipment in working order, rather than the more damaged equipment left behind by Russian forces retreating from Kyiv in April, further indicating