Prabhas, Veera, Agni: African cheetahs in MP's Kuno National Park get new names

The new names for the 19 Namibian and South African cheetahs were chosen from suggestions sent in by the public, based on their conservation and cultural value, officials said.
Namibian cheetah in MP's Kuno National Park
Namibian cheetah in MP's Kuno National Park
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All the 19 cheetahs at Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park (KNP) will now be known by their new names. The development came following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to people to suggest new names for the cheetahs translocated from Namibia and South Africa.

A male Namibian cheetah, who has already earned a tag of "ghumakkad" (wanderer) because of straying away from KNP enclosures twice within one week, has been renamed Pavan, while a female Namibian cheetah, Siyaya, who gave birth four cubs recently, will now be called Jwala.

Likewise, two other female cheetahs, Savannah and Tbilisi, have been renamed Nabha and Dharti respectively. Male cheetahs Elton and Freddy will now be known as Gaurav and Shaurya. The name of only one cheetah wasn't changed completely, but Aasha had an extra 'a' added to her name.

Twelve cheetahs (seven male and five female) translocated from South Africa in the second phase of reintroduction under Project Cheetah have also been given Indian names. They have been renamed Daksha, Nirva, Vayu, Agni, Gamini, Tejas, Veera, Suraj, Dheera, Uday, Prabhas and Pavak.

As per the officials, following PM Modi's appeal during his programme 'Mann Ki Baat' on September 22 last year (a week after PM Modi had released eight Namibian cheetahs on his 64th birthday on September 17), a competition was organised through from October 26 to October 31, 2022.

In response, a total of 11,565 entries were received suggesting new names for reintroduced cheetahs. Officials said that the entries were scrutinised by a selection committee and based on the significance and relevance of the suggested names for their conservation and cultural value, the new names were selected for Namibian and South African cheetahs.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change congratulated the winners of the competition who suggested new names for Namibian and South African cheetahs.

Notably, a total of 20 cheetahs were reintroduced in two phases from Namibia and South Africa under Project Cheetah. In the first batch, eight Namibian cheetahs (3 male and 5 female) were released at KNP on September 17 last year, while in the second phase, 12 South African cheetahs were released on February 18 this year.

Out of 20, one female Namibian cheetah, Sasha, died of kidney-related ailment on March 27. So now, 19 cheetahs and four newborn cubs are living at Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park. All 12 South African cheetahs have also been released into the larger hunting enclosures, officials said.

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