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Don't make it an issue of prestige: SC tells govt on Cheetah deaths

A bench of Justices BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala and Prashant Kumar Mishra made these observations while hearing the issue related to the death of cheetahs.

Cheetah

The top court asked the Centre to focus on the welfare of the cheetahs. (File)

BS Web Team New Delhi

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The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday raised concerns over the deaths of eight cheetahs that were brought from South Africa and Namibia to Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh, according to a report by India Today. The top court urged the government not to make it a "prestige issue" and to focus on the welfare of the cheetahs.

A bench of Justices BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala, and Prashant Kumar Mishra made these observations while hearing the issue related to the death of cheetahs.

The bench headed by Justice BR Gavai asked why the death of the cheetahs was becoming a prestige issue and why were the cheetahs put in one place instead of being spread.

The three-judge bench enquired if facilities were arranged for a secure transfer to Rajasthan. The apex court told the government to explore options of having alternate habitats for the cheetahs, irrespective of where the state is located.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhat appearing for the government, told the bench the government was doing its best for the “prestigious project”. The court remarked that 40 per cent of deaths occurring in less than a year does not present a good picture.

The ASG responded that the deaths were on expected lines and that 50 per cent of deaths on translocation is normal. She also stated that a detailed analysis of each death was underway.

The Centre agreed to file its response and the next hearing will take place on August 1.

In September last year, 20 adult cheetahs were brought from Namibia and South Africa to reintroduce the animal to the Indian habitat. The birth of four cubs had taken the total number of cheetahs to 24. The eight deaths have brought the number down to 16 in the park.

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First Published: Jul 20 2023 | 4:24 PM IST

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