Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav announced Twelve cheetahs will be flown in from South Africa on 18th February. Under the ambitious Cheetah reintroduction program, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the first batch of eight spotted felines — five females and three males — from Namibia into a quarantine enclosure at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh on his 72nd birthday on September 17 last year.
Presently, the eight cheetahs at Kuno are killing prey every three-four day and are in good health. One of the cheetahs was unwell as her creatinine levels had shot up. She has recovered after treatment.
12 Cheetahs to be Flown from South Africa Under Cheetah Reintroduction Program- Key Points
- A C-17 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) left the country to bring 12 cheetahs from South Africa. Ten quarantine enclosures have been created at the Kuno National Park for these felines.
- India and South Africa had in January signed an MoU to transport cheetahs from the African country and reintroduce them in Kuno.
- A majority of the world’s 7,000 cheetahs live in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. Namibia has the world’s largest population of cheetahs.
- The cheetah is the only large carnivore that got completely wiped out from India, mainly due to overhunting and habitat loss. The last spotted feline died in 1948 in the Sal forests of Chhattisgarh’s Koriya district.
- National Tiger Conservation Authority Head S P Yadav informed that Seven male and five female cheetahs will embark on the journey to Kuno from O. R. Tambo International Airport, Gauteng, South Africa.
- The cheetahs will arrive at the Gwalior Air Force base in Madhya Pradesh and they will be then taken in IAF’s MI-17 helicopters.
- According to the ‘Action Plan for Reintroduction of Cheetah in India’ prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India, around 12-14 wild cheetahs that are ideal for establishing a new cheetah population would be imported from South Africa, Namibia, and other African countries as a founder stock for five years initially and then as required by the program.