Officers monitoring this project are overexcited with this development saying these two cheetahs had hunted the prey in open field without using the fence to corner it.
They are now first cheetahs from Namibia to successfully hunt on Indian soil.
At approximately 9am, staff from Project Cheetah tracking the cheetahs found the remains of an adult chital in Boma 4, a prey species stocked especially for the big cats. From the appearance of the remains, staff could determine the cheetahs ate well.
The last time these two cheetahs made a kill would have been sometime in late July in Namibia before they were brought in from the wild. From then until now, staff from Project Cheetah have been providing their meals. Elton and Freddie were released into Boma 4 from their quarantine pen on Saturday, where they had been held since arriving September 17.
“This has made my day! The cheetah knows how to separate the intestines and stomach without rupture, but unlike the leopard, hasn’t dragged them far,” said Dr MK Ranjitsihn, Chairman of Project Cheetah, a wildlife conservationist who drafted the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, has twice been the Director of Wildlife Protection of India, and was the Forest Secretary of the State of Madhya Pradesh, in which capacity he established the sanctuary at Kuno National Park where the cheetah reintroduction is taking place.
Cheetahs typically hunt in the early morning and the early evening, according to Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), the international cheetah organization advising Indian officials. They capture their prey by stalking within 10 to 30 meters of their prey or as far away as 80 meters before beginning to chase. A chase lasts between 20 to 60 seconds on average, and only 10 percent of chases are successful. Brothers like Elton and Freddie will remain together for life and hunt in coalitions, so they can take down bigger species and increase chances for success.
“Our whole cheetah team is so pleased to learn the rockstars, Elton and Freddie, have made their first kill. Recognizing a new prey species as food is a great indicator they are adapting to their new environment in India. This is the first time a cheetah has successfully hunted in India in more than 75 years. We are very excited by this news!” said Dr Laurie Marker, founder and executive director of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and advisor to Project Cheetah.
A cheetah can go days without water because they get the hydration they need from the blood in their prey. Cheetahs gorge themselves on a big enough meal to keep them going for two to five days. However, they will hunt daily, if opportunities are present.
Prashant Agrawal, High Commissioner from India to Namibia, who negotiated the deal to bring the cats to India, adds, “Ever since their arrival, enormous effort and care has been devoted to the well-being of all eight cheetahs from Namibia, and we are delighted that they are all doing well. We would continue our intensive efforts towards the next steps in the reintroduction plan, for which there is an unprecedented outpouring of public interest and goodwill.”