Extinct in 1952, India all set to re-introduce cheetahs in the country.

RH Desk, Sept 14 2022

Seven decades after it was officially declared extinct, the Indian government is all set to reintroduce the Cheetah – the world’s fastest land animal. The re-introduction is possible after the government decided to bring some Cheetahs from Africa.

Cheetah is the only large carnivore that has become extinct in India since its independence from British in 1947. 

In past, India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, through a written reply, informed its parliament that it intends to bring 12-14 cheetahs from South Africa, Namibia, and other African Countries. The Cheetahs would be brought over a period of five years.

On Tuesday, S P Yadav, Secretary, National Tiger Conservation Authority of India has told a local wire  agency that eight Cheetahs are being brought from Namibia, which include five females an three male cheetahs. The animals would be first brought to the Indian city of Jaipur and then relocated to the Madhya Pradesh region of the country.

“We’ve followed all international guidelines,” Yadav has told the wire agency. “Cheetahs will be kept in a 30-day quarantine. Their health will be monitored. After that, they will be released into a larger area. They’ll be wearing a radio collar and their movement will also be monitored 24 hrs”.

The cheetahs would be introduced in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park.

The Cheetah population in India came down drastically in late 1940’s as the local kings, British officials and the hunters involved in bounty hunting. It is believed that the last three asiatic cheetah were hunted down  by an Indian king in 1948. Four years later, the Indian government officialy declared the Cheetahs as extinct in India. 

In July, the Indian government and the government of the Republic of Namibia entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on wildlife conservation and sustainable biodiversity utilization, for establishing the cheetah into the historical range in India.

Officials say the current carrying capacity for Kuno National Park is a maximum of 21 cheetahs, and once restored the larger landscape can hold about 36 cheetahs.  

The first cheetah in the world to be bred in captivity was in India during the Mughal dynasty rule. Usually, then, Cheetahs were used extensively for hunting. The Mughal emperor is said to have 1,000 cheetahs in his menagerie.

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