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MP, Rajasthan deny reports of chitals being shifted to Kuno for cheetahs

Bishnoi community protest, later relent after assurance from Union Minister

CheetahAkhil Bharatiya Bishnoi Mahasabha had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that the community was hurt over the news that chitals were being shifted to Kuno to feed the Cheetahs.

The Bishnoi community in Rajasthan on Tuesday staged a protest over reports that a large number of chitals (spotted deer) have been shifted from the state to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park to serve as a source of food for the cheetahs that were recently brought from Namibia.

However, later during the day, both the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan governments denied the report. This calmed the agitated Bishnois who said they got an assurance from a Union Minister and were satisfied with the clarification from both the state governments.

On September 18, Devendra Bishnoi, the president of the Akhil Bharatiya Bishnoi Mahasabha had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that the community was hurt over the news that chitals were being shifted to Kuno. He had urged the PM to roll back the order.

“The Bishnoi community staged a protest in Jodhpur today over the issue. However, I got a call later from Jodhpur MP and Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who assured me that he had got the issue investigated and found that no chitals have been shifted to Kuno. The government of Madhya Pradesh has also issued a clarification. At the moment the community is satisfied,” said Bishnoi.

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“No chitals have been shifted from Rajasthan to Kuno National Park,” Rajasthan Chief Wildlife Warden Arindam Tomar told The Indian Express on Tuesday.

In a press statement, Madhya Pradesh Chief Wildlife Warden JS Chauhan too refuted the reports.

Chauhan said that there was no truth to the news that was being widely circulated in newspapers and social media.

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“Currently there are over 20,000 chitals inside Kuno National Park and in such a scenario it is just a figment of imagination that chitals are being brought from other places for the food of cheetahs. After the cheetahs were brought, no chital has been brought and released in the Kuno,” said Chauhan in the statement.

Officials said at present the cheetahs are being provided buffalo meat during their month-long quarantine period.
“We have brought in some spotted dears from Narsinghgarh to ensure that there is a mix of animals to ensure that animals from one place don’t cause any genetic depression of sorts,” said Chauhan.

Madhya Pradesh Forest Department will not take any steps that will hurt the sentiments of the Bishnoi community, the statement added.

First published on: 20-09-2022 at 07:14:29 pm
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