BHOPAL: Aasha, the cheetah named by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was darted by experts a few distance away from Uttar Pradesh after she embarked on an extraordinary journey spanning over 189 kilometers, making it the longest recorded distance travelled by a translocated cheetah in the country.

Cheetah Asha also follows Oban: Here's why foresters are anxious

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Cheetah Asha also follows Oban: Here’s why foresters are anxious

She was successfully released back into the protected wilderness of Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur.
A team of expert wildlife officials tranquillised Aasha on Sunday afternoon as she was venturing towards Uttar Pradesh, skilfully manoeuvring through dense forests and agricultural lands to avoid human settlements.

Watch: PM Modi releases 8 cheetahs at Kuno National Park

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Watch: PM Modi releases 8 cheetahs at Kuno National Park

The operation to sedate the cheetah was executed seamlessly, ensuring the safety of both the animal and the team involved, said officers.
Once tranquilised, Aasha was carefully reintroduced into her natural habitat and officers say that she is in good health.
These developments were conveyed to the steering committee overseeing the cheetah translocation project.

Earlier journey

Aasha had previously made her way to Madhav National Park in Shivpuri district, where she remained for a brief period.
During the pursuit to locate Aasha, the Kuno team encountered a perilous incident in Burakheda village.
Mistaken for cattle thieves, the team was violently attacked by villagers, leading to injuries sustained by four forest department employees.
This unfortunate event unfolded around 4am while the team was diligently monitoring Aasha’s movements using a GPS tracker attached to her neck.
Despite their efforts to explain their purpose, the villagers persisted in their disbelief, resorting to physical aggression.

Vehicles vandalised

The assailants also vandalised the team’s vehicles before the team managed to escape.
An FIR has been filed against the unidentified individuals involved in the attack.
However, no arrests have been made thus far.
Another wandering cheetah, Oban, renamed as Pawan, was also tranquilised by forest officials over the same issue.
Pawan was on the verge of crossing over into Uttar Pradesh, approximately 100 kilometers away from Kuno National Park.
Forest authorities swiftly intervened to prevent Pawan’s escape from the designated protected area.
Pawan, who strayed outside the protected area on April 2, had embarked on a five-day adventure that included exploring nearby villages and farmlands, effectively evading the forest officials’ attempts to guide him back to Kuno.
Ultimately, Pawan had to be tranquilised and safely returned to an enclosure within Kuno.
The temporary loss of freedom was a consequence of Pawan’s excursion, which included the predation of a calf in Sardarpur, a village on the outskirts of Madhav National Park.
This incident marked the first instance of cattle predation by a cheetah in India in over 75 years.
Despite the temporary setback, officials are contemplating the release of Pawan back into the wild.
The cheetah’s tranquilisation was deemed necessary to ensure the safety of both the animal and the local community.
As plans are underway for Pawan’s reintegration into its natural habitat, conservationists remain hopeful for the cheetah’s successful return to the wild.
“The move was very smooth. Veterinarians say Aasha looks good and is doing well since her return,” said Dr Laurie Marker, founder and executive director of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF).

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