According to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), Tblisi aka Dhatri died as a result of infection from a maggot infestation (myiasis). The same infection killed other two male cheetahs Suraj and Tejas earlier.
“This was the same cause of death of the two male cheetahs, and the reason why we were tracking Dhatri for recapture,” CCF tweeted, adding that it conducted a post-mortem examination in collaboration with the staff of Kuno National Park.
“We have removed the collars from the rest of the cheetahs while we develop and test a better collar material for their monitoring devices. Two females are still out; we are working to bring them back for comprehensive health assessments and any necessary treatment,” the CCF tweeted.
“Fly eggs have a rapid incubation rate and the larvae are not easy to detect. They quickly reach full growth in less than a couple days. Myiasis also occurs in humans, and is common in rural areas with tropical climates (India) or during rainy seasons in arid climates (Namibia),” the cheetah organisation said.
The CCF stated that their top concern is the well-being of these wonderful animals and their development toward successful wild release. Previous release studies conducted between 2004 and 2018 indicated that chosen individuals achieved high rates of independence (75%-96%) after release.
According to the Centre, all cheetah died due to natural causes.
Since March of this year, six of the 20 translocated cheetahs and three of the four cubs born in Kuno have died. The fatality rate of more than 37% has sparked concern. Cheetah specialists accept the setback, but say it is within the expected mortality rate and that the project remains on track.
Maggot infestation occurs when fly maggots feed on and develop in the tissues of live creatures. True myiasis is caused by flies laying eggs in or on tissues on purpose. Myiasis is classified into two types: obligatory, in which maggots must feed on living tissues, and facultative, in which flies opportunistically use wounds or degenerative necrotic situations to incubate their larvae.1 Obligate myiasis in humans is generally localized, whereas facultative myiasis can occur anywhere on the planet. The majority of insects that are prone to cause myiasis in people are either blowflies (family calliphoridae) or houseflies (family muscidae). The majority of species producing facultative myiasis in humans are not dangerous, which is why some are employed in larval therapy, but obligate parasites range from insignificant to being potentially fatal.