In Madhya Pradesh, eight cheetahs have perished in just four months because of radio collars. Wildlife officials at Kuno National Park have indicated the removal of radio collars from 10 cheetahs roaming free, but the government rejects claims that these collars were to blame for the deaths. J.S. Chauhan, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) in Madhya Pradesh, stated to The news agency that although the radio collar is not a fatal problem, it can serve as an underlying cause that needs to be solved.
Do radio collars cause the death of the cheetahs at Kuno?
Vincent van der Merwe, a South African expert on the cheetah metapopulation, stated last week that “extremely wet circumstances are triggering the radio collars to spread infection (among cheetahs).”
Wildlife officials, “We’ll take off their radio collars”
There have been theories about “radio collars” as a potential cause for the deaths of eight cheetahs in four months. A news agency report cited wildlife officials “indicating the eradication of radio collars from 10 free-ranging cheetahs at Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh, even though the government rejected reports linking the deaths to things like radio collars.”
“We’ll take off their radio collars. We can’t estimate how long it would take to take the collars off the cheetahs in the wild, but in an ideal world, we should do so and keep an eye on them all. We are going to track this issue,” officials said, according to the report.
Do radio collars pose a risk to cheetahs?
J.S. Chauhan, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) in Madhya Pradesh, stated to The news agency that although the radio collar is not a fatal problem, it can serve as an underlying cause that needs to be solved. In the monsoon, the radio collar could trigger a bacterial infection, he continued.
It might also be a factor in the cheetah deaths, he added. But he argued, “a complete investigation to discover if there are other causes.”
Several assertions regarding the effects of radio collars
Suraj, a three-year-old cheetah discovered dead in Madhya Pradesh on Friday (July 14), was said to have died of septicemia brought on by his radio collar rubbing against his skin, according to the chairman of the Cheetah Task Force last week. In February of this year, Suraj moved from South Africa to KNP.
According to Vincent van der Merwe, a South African expert on cheetah metapopulation, septicemia, or blood poisoning by bacteria, “was the consequence of the radio collars carried around their necks in the current wet conditions.”
In four months, eight cheetahs pass away
On Friday, July 14, the male cheetah Suraj, who recently relocated from South Africa, passed away at the Kuno National Park in Sheopur. Officials declared this was the first instance of a cheetah dying in the wild. Tejas, a second translocated male cheetah, passed away in the park on Tuesday, July 11, the previous week.
The previous two months saw the deaths of three cubs and three cheetahs. Sasha, a female cheetah who passed away on March 27 from kidney complications, was one of these three adult cheetahs. After her, on April 24, a male cheetah named Uday passed away from heart failure.
How frequently do radio collar deaths occur?
Wildlife experts pointed the finger at radio collars in 2020 for the deaths of one of four Asiatic lions in Gujarat in a single year. A Times of India report stated that 19 of the 89 radio-collared lions died the previous year. “This includes 14 lions that had tracking devices installed in July 2019,” according to the report.
It did cite wildlife specialists working in the Gir forest who claimed that the number of radio-collared lion deaths may be higher.