The cheetahs will be relocated to Kuno, a wildlife sanctuary in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, spread across 133 sq miles. Forests in the sanctuary had earlier been home to hundreds of these Asiatic cheetahs before their extinction in India
In what comes as good news for wildlife in India, the country will soon see cheetahs, the fastest land animal, in its forests after a gap of almost seven decades. Under a memorandum of understanding, signed by the governments of India and Namibia, the latter will provide 12 cheetahs to the former under a translocation project.
India had last recorded surviving cheetah in 1952 in Madhya Pradesh, which were later hunted down by poachers. If plans go right, Madhya Pradesh will welcome eight of these cheetahs.
The reintroduction, under the Cheetah Translocation Project (CTP), is being undertaken by the Environment Ministry.
“We are trying to get [the first batch of] cheetahs by August 15, but we have to make all arrangements before that and discuss all the modalities to fix the exact date of arrival,” National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) secretary SP Yadav was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
Eight cheetahs, expected to arrive in India in batches of two, will be transferred by August, a senior official of the Environment Ministry confirmed.
The cheetahs will be relocated to Kuno, a wildlife sanctuary in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, spread across 133 sq miles. Forests in the sanctuary had earlier been home to hundreds of these Asiatic cheetahs before their extinction in India.
Kuno was selected as the most suitable place last year among ten sites surveyed by the expert committee appointed by the Supreme Court.
The environment ministry aims to breed the animals in an enclosure in Kuno before releasing them into the wild.
All basic preparation has been completed as per the recommendations from the teams of South Africa and Namibia. “Now, we are shifting prey base inside the fencing,” JS Chauhan, Chief Wildlife Warden in Madhya Pradesh said.
The agreement between India and Namibia, which will be effective for an initial period of five years from the date of the last signature, will be automatically renewed for successive 5-year periods unless either party terminates the agreement by giving six months’ written notice to the other.
Under the MoU, both countries will cooperate in the fields of climate change, agriculture and biodiversity, and Indian experts will also train and support Namibian personnel in smart patrol, and population estimation techniques and facilitate required equipment for surveillance and monitoring.