Cheetah Translocation project set to motion with relocation of 5 Cheetahs to Kuno National Park
The history of wild cats in India dates back to distant centuries. The presence of distinct habitats in parts of the country has been quite capable to manifest a diverse variety of canines.
Cheetahs, however, were declared extinct in India back in 1952 because of habitat loss and extensive hunting. Reportedly, five African cheetahs will be introduced to the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh on September 17.
Arrangements underway for the introduction of African Cheetahs
The Union Ministry of Environment and Climate Change started the works for making arrangements for the introduction of Cheetahs in Kuno National Park. Reportedly, the cheetahs will be brought from Windhoek, Namibia.
Additionally, logistical arrangements are being made by the authorities at the Kuno National Park, as the Cheetahs will be transferred by Helicopter. As per the experts, dedicated enclosures with Savanah shrubs and grasses have been made to make the habitat suitable for the Cheetah.
Furthermore, the enclosures are protected with solar electric fencing and will be monitored by the means of four watch towers, equipped with high-resolution cameras. A team from the South African environment ministry also arrived at the national park this Tuesday, to check the arrangements for the cheetah translocation project.
India's decades old history with Cheetahs
The rich biodiversity of India has supported the existence of different species of wild cats such as the Iconic Royal Bengal Tigers in the Sunderban delta, Asiatic lions in the Gir forests of Gujarat and several varieties of leopards in various regions of the country. Asiatic cheetahs were also a vital part of India's ecosystem and existed naturally in the country. India's last cheetah died back in 1947, in the Korea district of the present day Chhattisgarh after which the species was officially declared extinct in the year 1952.
Historians have stated that there are several records of the existence of cheetahs in the country. Various Mughal and Rajput paintings are present which depict the wild cat and verify its existence back in ancient times. Other similar pieces of evidence can also be found in the records of various geographers of previous eras.
The cheetah re-introduction project was conceived back in 2009 and is finally being executed this year, coinciding with the nation's 75th year of Independence. The Cheetah relocation from Namibia is the result of an MoU signed between India and Namibia for the translocation of Cheetahs. A similar MoU is in consideration with South Africa.