Kuno National Park

Coordinates: 25°40′00″N 77°10′00″E / 25.66667°N 77.16667°E / 25.66667; 77.16667
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Kuno National Park
Map showing the location of Kuno National Park
Map showing the location of Kuno National Park
Location in Madhya Pradesh
Map showing the location of Kuno National Park
Map showing the location of Kuno National Park
Kuno National Park (India)
LocationSheopur and Shivpuri districts in Madhya Pradesh,  India
Nearest cityShivpuri, Sheopur
Coordinates25°40′00″N 77°10′00″E / 25.66667°N 77.16667°E / 25.66667; 77.16667
Area748.76 km2 (289.10 sq mi)
Established1981; 42 years ago (1981) as Wildlife Sanctuary
2018; 5 years ago (2018) as National Park
Named forKuno River
Governing bodyDivisional Forest Officer

Kuno National Park is a national park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, India. It derives its name from Kuno River. It was established in 1981 as a wildlife sanctuary with an initial area of 344.686 km2 (133.084 sq mi) in the Sheopur and Morena districts.[1] In 2018, it was given the status of a national park. It is part of the Khathiar-Gir dry deciduous forests ecoregion.[2]


Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1981 with an initial area of about 344.68 km2 (133.08 sq mi).[1] In the 1990s, it was selected as a possible site to implement the Asiatic Lion Reintroduction Project, which aimed at establishing a second lion population in India.[3] Between 1998 and 2003, about 1,650 inhabitants of 24 villages were resettled to sites outside the protected area.[1] Most of the inhabitants were Saharia tribal people. The villages were also home to Jatav, Brahmin, Gujjar, Kushwaha and Yadav people.[4] An area of 924 km2 (357 sq mi) surrounding the wildlife sanctuary was added as a buffer zone to human settlements.[3] In 2009, Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary was also proposed as a possible site for cheetah reintroduction in India,[5] which has begun with eight of the animals released in September 2022.[6]

Gujarat state had resisted the relocation of lion, since it would make the Gir Sanctuary lose its status as the world's only home of the Asiatic lion. In April 2013, the Indian Supreme Court ordered Gujarat to send some of their Gir lions to Madhya Pradesh to establish a second population. The court had given wildlife authorities six months to complete the transfer.[7] In December 2018 the state government changed the status of the wildlife sanctuary to Kuno National Park and enlarged the protected area by 413 km2 (159 sq mi).[8]

In January 2022, environment minister Bhupender Yadav launched the action plan for reintroducing cheetahs in India, starting with Kuno national park.[9] In 2022, the Indian government drafted a 25-year plan for Lion relocation within Gujarat state and not in other states. The Gujarat government has not carried out the Supreme Court's order since 2013 and resisted the relocation of lions to other states. According to Bhopal-based environmentalist Ajay Dubey plans to reintroduce African cheetahs in Kuno National Park is another way to escape the transfer of lions to the Kuno National Park.[10] On 17 September 2022, five female and three male cheetahs aged 4 to 6 years arrived in Kuno National Park from Namibia.[11][12][13]

On 18 February 2023, 12 more cheetahs arrived in Kuno National Park.[14] In March 2023, four cheetah cubs were born.[15]



The vegetation of the protected area includes Anogeissus pendula forest and scrub, Boswellia and Butea forest, dry savanna forest and grassland and tropical riverine forest. The dominant tree species are Acacia catechu, Salai Boswellia serrata, Tendu Diospyros melanoxylon, Palash Butea monosperma, Dhok Anogeissus latifolia, Acacia leucophloea, Ziziphus mauritiana and Ziziphus xylopyrus. Prominent shrub species include Grewia flavescens, Helicteres isora, Hopbush viscosa, Vitex negundo. Grass species include Heteropogon contortus, Apluda mutica, Aristida hystrix, Themeda quadrivalvis, Cenchrus ciliaris and Desmostachya bipinnata. Senna tora and Argemone mexicana are also common.[16]



The main predators occurring in the protected area are Indian leopard, Southeast African cheetah, jungle cat, sloth bear, dhole, Indian wolf, Indian jackal, striped hyena and Bengal fox. Ungulates include chital, sambar, nilgai, chousingha, chinkara, blackbuck and wild boar.[3][16] More than 1,900 feral zebu cattle were estimated to occur in 2008, whereas density of wild ungulates was considered too low to sustain an introduced lion population at the time.[3] Indian grey mongoose, ruddy mongoose, small Indian mongoose, honey badger, gray langur, Indian crested porcupine and Indian hare have also been recorded.


Reptiles present here includes mugger crocodile, gharial, Bengal monitor and Indian softshell turtle.[16]


A total of 129 bird species were sighted during a survey in spring 2007. Indian white-backed vulture, long-billed vulture, red-headed vulture, Egyptian vulture, crested serpent-eagle, short-toed snake eagle, Bonelli's eagle, white-eyed buzzard, changeable hawk-eagle, brown fish owl and spotted owlet are resident raptors. Western marsh-harrier, pied harrier, Montagu's harrier, steppe eagle, osprey, common kestrel, short-eared owl, Demoiselle crane and common crane are winter visitors.[17]

Avifauna also includes black-winged kite, painted spurfowl, ruddy shelduck, Indian peafowl, grey francolin, Eurasian nightjar, jungle nightjar, Indian nightjar, painted sandgrouse, woolly-necked stork, great stone-curlew, Sirkeer malkoha, Indian golden oriole, black-rumped flameback, bay-backed shrike and Indian paradise flycatcher.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Kabra, A. (2009). "Conservation-induced displacement: a comparative study of two Indian protected areas". Conservation and Society. 7 (4): 249−267. doi:10.4103/0972-4923.65172. hdl:10535/6089.
  2. ^ "Khathiar-Gir dry deciduous forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Khudsar, F. A.; Sharma, K.; Rao, R. J.; Chundawat, R. S. (2008). "Estimation of prey base and its implications in Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 105 (1): 42–48.
  4. ^ Kabra, A. (2003). "Displacement and rehabilitation of an Adivasi settlement: case of Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh" (PDF). Economic and Political Weekly: 3073–3078. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 25 May 2023.
  5. ^ Ranjitsinh, M. K.; Jhala, Y. V. (2010). Assessing the potential for reintroducing the cheetah in India. Noida and Dehradun: Wildlife Trust of India and Wildlife Institute of India.
  6. ^ "Modi: India PM reintroduces extinct cheetahs on birthday". BBC News. 17 September 2022. Archived from the original on 29 September 2022. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  7. ^ Anand, U. (2013). Supreme Court gives Madhya Pradesh lions' share from Gujarat's Gir Archived 20 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine. The Indian Express Ltd., 17 April 2013.
  8. ^ Naveen, P. (2018). "Madhya Pradesh: Kuno notified as national park, path clear for Gir lions". Times of India. Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  9. ^ "India launches action plan for reintroducing cheetah after 70 years of absence". 2022. Archived from the original on 7 January 2022. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Despite SC order, no shifting of lions outside Gujarat in Centre's 25-year plan". Indian Express. 27 July 2022. Archived from the original on 26 July 2022. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  11. ^ "Cheetahs in India: A spotted history, a future of hopes". Archived from the original on 17 September 2022. Retrieved 17 September 2022.
  12. ^ "Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park, home to Cheetahs from Namibia: 5 points". Archived from the original on 17 September 2022. Retrieved 17 September 2022.
  13. ^ "PM Modi's Cheetah reintroduction mission: First batch to be brought from Namibia". Zee News. Archived from the original on 14 September 2022. Retrieved 14 September 2022.
  14. ^ Jha, Shuchita (18 February 2023). "12 cheetahs from South Africa arrive in India". Down To Earth. Archived from the original on 18 February 2023. Retrieved 18 February 2023.
  15. ^ Gillett, F. (2023). "First cheetah cubs born in India since extinction 70 years ago". BBC. Archived from the original on 29 March 2023. Retrieved 29 March 2023.
  16. ^ a b c d Bipin, C. M., Bhattacharjee, S., Shah, S., Sharma, V. S., Mishra, R. K., Ghose, D., & Jhala, Y. V. (2003). Status of prey in Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh. Dehradun: Wildlife Institute of India. doi:10.13140/RG.2.1.1036.2005.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  17. ^ a b Ramesh, T.; Sridharan, N.; Kalle, R. (2011). "Birds of Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, Central India". Zoos' Print. 26 (12): 25–29. Archived from the original on 31 July 2020. Retrieved 25 May 2023.

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