Detailed Kuno National Park and Cheetah Reintroduction Plan 2021

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The Kuno National Park is most trending national park in news of 2021. The Kuno National Park is part of Kuno Wildlife Division (Area- 1235 sq. km) and the south-eastern portion of this area is patchily connected to Panna Tiger Reserve through Madhav National Park– Shivpuri Forest Division. Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan State across the River Chambal is connected on the north-western side. The extent of forest in this landscape is about 6800 sq. km.

kuno national park

FeaturesDetails of Kuno National Park
LocationSheopur District in Madhya Pradesh
Area748 km2
Biogeographic zoneSemi-arid zone
Forest typeNorthern tropical dry deciduous
ClimateTemperature- average maximum summer temperature- 42.3°C, average minimum winter temperature- 6.7°C Average annual rainfall- 760 mm
TopographyElevation- 238m to 498m above mean sea level, Moderately undulating with gentle slopes and flat river valley
FloraDominant tree species- Anogeisus pendula, Acacia catechu, Boswellia serrata, Diospyros melanoxylon, Butea monosperma, Anogeissus latifolia, Acacia leucophloea, Ziziphus mauritiana and Ziziphus xylopyrus.
Shrub species- Grey via flavescens, Helicteres isora, Vitex negundo. Grass species include Heteropogon contortus, Apluda mutica, Aristida hystrix, Themeda quadrivalvis, Cenchrus ciliaris and Desmostachya bipinnata.
FaunaMammalian carnivores- leopard, sloth bear, striped hyaena, gray wolf, golden jackal, Indian fox, ratel, jungle cat, Indian gray mongoose, ruddy mongoose, Asian palm civet and small Indian civet,
Ungulates and herbivorous mammals- chital, sambar, nilgai, wild pig, chinkara, chousingha, blackbuck, northern plains gray langur, rhesus macaque, Indian porcupine and black-naped hare.
Anthropogenic activitiesThe predominant communities in the area are Sahariyas, Gujjars and Yadavs. The main livelihoods of people are agriculture, pastoralism, casual labor and collection of non-timber forest products. People of Moghiya and Bhil tribes, well-known for their hunting abilities, reside in low numbers amongst the fringe villages. The other communities are Dhakad, Jatav and Thakur, who own some of the largest agricultural holdings.
LandscapeThe National Park is part of Kuno Wildlife Division (Area- 1235 km2) and the south-eastern portion of this area is patchily connected to Panna- Tiger Reserve through Madhav National Park- Shivpuri Forest Division. Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan State across the River Chambal is connected on the north-western side. The extent of forest in this landscape is about 6800 km2.

Kuno National Park

  • Kuno National Park has spread over an area of 748.76 sq. km
  • It is located in the Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh
  • Kuno River, one of the major tributaries of Chambal River flows through the entire length bisecting the National Park division
  • Kuno park is known for the leopard, Jackal, Chinkara
  • Wildlife Institute of India and Wildlife Trust of India had shortlisted Palpur-Kuno park as habitats for Cheetahs and Asiatic lions. 
  • Cheetah which once roamed in the northern plains of India became extinct in India in 1948. 
  • Plans to reintroduce Cheetah in Kuno National Park from South Africa are underway. 
  • The Kuno has the potential to carry populations of all four of India’s big cats the tiger, the leopard, the Asiatic lion and also cheetah, all four of which have coexisted within the same habitats historically before they were exhausted thanks to overhunting and habitat destruction. 
  • Currently, the leopard and striped hyena are the only larger carnivores within the Kuno National Parkthe single lone tiger T-38 having returned to Ranthambore earlier this year (2021).

Ranthambore’s Tiger T-38 Returns Home After 10 Years

  • After 10 years T-38, a tiger from Ranthambore National Park, return to its home after it had strayed into Kuno Wildlife in Madhya Pradesh at 4 years of age. 
  • The tiger T-38 is the son of the tigress T-13 and brother of Ranthambore’s famous tigress Noor, or T-39. 
  • It had strayed into Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh at the age of 4. 
  • He stayed there for 10 years, before returning to home Ranthambore.
  • Tigers are more in numbers in Ranthambore and that’s the reason why the animals migrate to other regions. 
  • T38 is around 14 years old now and at this age, tigers usually don’t migrate. 
  • Expert says: Maybe a young male tiger acquired the territory of this tiger and since he knew the track he returned.

Fauna in Kuno National Park

  • Kuno National Park is currently home to Indian wolves, jackals, leopards, langur monkey, blue-bull, chinkara and spotted deer.
  • The other Wildlife of Kuno National Park is 
    • Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Wild pig, Chinkara, Chousingha or Four-horned antelope. 
    • Blackbuck, Southern plains grey langur, Indian crested porcupine and Indian hare.
  • Carnivores include
    • Leopard, Sloth bear, Striped hyaena, Gray wolf, Golden jackal, Indian fox and Ratel
  • One male Panthera tigris (Tiger) which has migrated from Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve has now returned.
  • Small carnivores such as 
    • Jungle cat, Indian grey mongoose, 
    • Ruddy mongoose and Small Asian mongoose are found here. 
    • The gharial is also sighted in the Kuno River
  • In Kuno National Park, chital is the most abundant prey for carnivorous species.
Kuno national park
Kuno national park

Cheetah reintroduction Plan in Kuno

  • Kuno National Park has been regularly monitored since 2006 for lion reintroduction. 
  • Due to the efforts of the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department on rehabilitation of villages from within the core area, and declaration of National Park status to Kuno National Park, Kuno has shown remarkable recovery in its habitat, prey abundance and reduction of human impacts
  • Due to delays in lion reintroduction here, the Kuno National Park site was considered for cheetah reintroduction in 2010. 
  • However, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in its order on the reintroduction of the Asiatic Lion in Kuno National Park in 2013, also ruled against the reintroduction of the cheetah in Kuno National Park.
  • After NTCA’s submission of affidavits to the Supreme Court of India explaining that cheetah reintroduction would not impact lion reintroductions in any adverse manner, the Supreme Court of India permitted cheetah introduction on an “experimental basis in a carefully chosen habitat and nurtured and watched to see whether it can adapt to the Indian conditions”. 

Why Kuno is Suitable for Cheetah reintroduction Plan

  • The Kuno National Park has diverse habitats conducive for lions and cheetahs constituted by 
    • Open woodlands, 
    • Savanna, 
    • Dry deciduous forests.
    • Evergreen riverine forests. 
  • Forest grass species are common in valley habitats while plateau tops had shorter grasses.
  • Kuno National Park is part of a large forested landscape constituted by the Sheopur-Shivpuri forests covering an area of -6800 sq. km. 
  • Currently, the leopard and striped hyena are the only larger carnivores within the National Park, the single lone tiger having returned to Ranthambore earlier this year (2021)
  • In the degraded forests outside the National Park, the presence of wolves is also reported. 
  • The density of leopards in Kuno National Park is 8.9 per 100 sq. km.

Anthropogenic activities in Kuno National Park

  • The predominant communities in the area are Sahariyas, Gujjars and Yadavs.
  • The main livelihoods of people are agriculture, pastoralism, casual labor and collection of non-timber forest products.
  • People of Moghiya and Bhil tribes, well-known for their hunting abilities, reside in low numbers amongst the fringe villages.
  • The other communities are Dhakad, Jatav and Thakur, who own some of the largest agricultural holdings.

Asiatic Cheetah

  • IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
  • Cheetah which once roamed in the northern plains of India became extinct in India in 1948. 
  • Plans to reintroduce Cheetah in Kuno National Park from South Africa are underway.

Learn about All 10 National Park in Madhya Pradesh

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