Supreme Court Allows NTCA to Introduce African Cheetahs in Indian Wilderness
The apex court of India has allowed the National Tiger Conservation Authority to implement its plan of introducing African Cheetahs in the wilderness of the country. In August the Supreme Court (SC) had said that it was not against the ambitious project of relocating African Cheetah from Namibia to Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.
A bench of Justices S. A. Bobde and B. R. Gavai wondered as to how the court could be sure of whether the Cheetah would survive after senior advocate Wasim Qadri, appearing for NTCA said that the sanctuary already has big cats like tigers and leopards. Qadri also clarified that the observations regarding the areas in question as “not preferred habitat of Cheetah are totally incorrect”.
However, there is no recorded evidence of Tiger-Cheetah conflicts. Therefore, the SC supported the move of NTCA to experiment relocating African Cheetah in Madhya Pradesh.
The NTCA will reassess all the potential sites found feasible for reintroducing Cheetah and an action plan will be developed for the necessary measures before the relocation. According to the authority, the Madhya Pradesh government has requested for Cheetah reintroduction at Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary.
The NTCA revealed to the SC that the African Cheetahs relocated from Namibia will be kept at Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. It further said that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which provides inputs to governmental bodies on biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development, has not objected to the translocation.
Cheetah has been declared extinct from the Indian subcontinent in 1952. Earlier, the NTCA sought clarification if there was any ban of the SC on the reintroduction of the animal in the country. The court was informed that IUCN has agreed to co-operate with India in the translocation of cheetahs from Namibia.
According to Wildlife Institute of India, the MP forest department needs to reserve 700 sq km area for the imported cheetahs to dwell in the sanctuary, spread over 1,197 sq km. Besides, 20 villages located in the 700 sq km area for the cheetah project in Nauradehi need to be evacuated. A whopping Rs 264 crore would be needed to compensate around 2,640 families living in these villages.
However, it would be interesting to see how the African Cheetahs will adapt to the Indian wilderness after the relocation.
Via: One India