A Kuno National Park cheetah-tracking team was mistaken for cattle thieves
A team from Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park tasked with tracking a cheetah that had strayed out of the protected area was attacked by villagers last night over suspicion that they were cattle thieves, the police said.
A member of the tracking team was injured, the police said, adding he is being treated at a hospital.
A female cheetah, Aasha, had ventured out of the protected area, after which the national park's authorities sent out a team to track the big cat.
The cheetah-trackers set out to look for the animal in a Bolero SUV.
When the team reached village Burakheda near Kuno National Park, some people stopped the SUV and without any warning attacked them.
Visuals of the attack site shows the rear windshield of the SUV shattered and the vehicle stopped in front of a tree, indicating an impact.
"We have identified 10-15 suspects and are questioning the villagers to catch those who attacked the cheetah trackers," a police officer told reporters.
The cheetahs at Kuno National Park were brought from South Africa and Namibia.
Under the reintroduction programme, the first group of eight female cheetahs from Namibia were brought into a quarantine enclosure at Kuno. In the second translocation, 12 cheetahs were flown in from South Africa and released into Kuno.
Three out of four recently born cheetah cubs have died.