Cheetahs: Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park on Saturday welcomed eight Namibian cheetahs as part of the government’s project to reintroduce the feline to India after it went extinct here seven decades ago.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi left three of the eight cheetahs in a special enclosure in the Kuno National Park, which is also celebrating its birthday today. He also took some pictures of the cheetahs after they were released.
Watch How Cheetah Running and Hunting: Click Here to Watch
Eight cheetahs – five females and three males – will be kept in quarantine for about a month before being released into the open forested areas of the park.
The Prime Minister termed “Project Cheetah”, the world’s first transcontinental relocation project of its kind, as part of his government’s effort towards environment and wildlife conservation. He was accompanied by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
PM Modi said it may take a few months for cheetahs between the age of two and a half to five years to adapt to the new habitat. “Citizens have to show patience, wait a few months to see the abandoned cheetahs in Kuno National Park. Today, these cheetahs have come as our guests, unaware of the area. We have to give these cheetahs a few months. Kuno Even to make the National Park your home.”
The big cats were brought to Gwalior from Namibia in a special cargo flight this morning and later flown to Kuno National Park in two helicopters of the Indian Air Force.
India was home to Asiatic cheetahs in the past, but by 1952 the species was declared domestically extinct. PM Modi said that it is unfortunate that for decades no constructive effort was made to bring him back to India.
The cheetah is listed globally as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. It is “critically endangered” in North Africa and Asia.