New Delhi: 12 cheetahs will arrive from South Africa on February 18, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said on Thursday. As part of an ambitious cheetah reintroduction programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the first batch of eight spotted felines – five females and three males – from Namibia into a quarantine enclosure in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park on his 72nd birthday on September 17. last year.
At present, the eight cheetahs in Kuno kill prey every three to four days and are in good health, officials said.
One of the cheetahs was not feeling well as her creatinine level shot up. According to them, she recovered after treatment.
India and South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding in January to transport cheetahs from the African country and reintroduce them in Kuno.
Most of the 7,000 cheetahs in the world live in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. Namibia has the world’s largest population of cheetahs.
The cheetah is the only large carnivore that has been completely extirpated from India, mainly due to overhunting and habitat loss. The last spotted cat died in 1948 in the Sal forests of Koriya district in Chhattisgarh.
“Following the importation of 12 cheetahs in February, the plan is to translocate a further 12 annually for the next eight to 10 years. The terms of the MoU will be reviewed every five years to ensure it remains relevant,” the environment ministry said.
According to the “Action Plan for Cheetah Reintroduction in India” prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India, around 12-14 wild cheetahs would be imported from South Africa, Namibia and other African countries, ideal for establishing a new cheetah population. founder shares initially for five years and then as per program requirements.