India Will Become Home to Wild Cheetahs Once Again
The country is ready to receive eight wild cheetahs in August seven decades after their extinction from the subcontinent
India and Namibia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to bring wild cheetahs to their former habitat. The wild cats will be reintroduced to the forests of the South Asian country for the first time since 1952.
As per the agreement, eight African cheetahs will board a flight from Namibia to India in August. Their new habitat will be at the Kuno National Park (KNP) wildlife sanctuary, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. After 70 years of cheetahs’ extinction, officials have been working on the relocation of the animals since 2020. They started making this move after the Indian supreme court announced that African cheetahs could be brought back to the country’s carefully picked location.
Therefore, the KNP wildlife sanctuary has been chosen as the new home for African cheetahs in India. The wildlife sanctuary officials are following the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines, including the main focus on abundant prey base, site quality, and vast swaths of grasslands.
The major aim of the project for cheetah reintroduction is to create a viable cheetah metapopulation in the country. It will enable the animal to act as the top predators in the forests, according to the Indian Environment Ministry. The eight African cheetahs are expected to arrive before or on India’s 75th Independence Day celebrations on August 15, 2022.
On this good news, India’s Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav tweeted:
Happy to share that India has signed a historic MoU with Namibia to promote Wildlife Conservation and Sustainable Biodiversity Utilization. The MoU seeks to promote the conservation and restoration of cheetah in their former range from which the species went extinct. pic.twitter.com/MNVyw8S2eQ
— Bhupender Yadav (@byadavbjp) July 20, 2022
The cheetah is the fastest land animal, which has been increasingly heading toward extinction due to habitat depletion and poaching. Hence, the species has been classified as vulnerable under the IUCN’s red list of threatened species. Around 7,000 of these wild cats are present in the wild and most of them are in Africa.
Now with the reintroduction of cheetahs in India, officials are hopeful that the country may revive the cheetah population. We also hope that it turns out to be a huge success and that cheetahs could get their South Asian habitat again.