In 1952 the government had declared the extinction of cheetahs in the country. Cheetah Reintroduction Project in India: As part of the first-of-its-kind transcontinental mission, a special plane landed in Namibia to get a total of eight Namibian Cheetahs back to Indian territory after being extinct for over 70 years. It aims to restore the population of cheetahs in the country, will formally take off on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 72nd birthday – September 17, 2022. Starting in the 1970s, the efforts of the Indian government to re-establish the species in its historical ranges in the country led to the signing of a pact with Namibia, which donated the first eight individuals to launch the Cheetah reintroduction programme on July 20 this year.
Eight cheetahs, five females and three male will be brought to Jaipur in Rajasthan. Then from there they will be brought to the Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh – in helicopters and released by PM Modi to Kuno National Park. The large carnivore got completely wiped out from India due to their use for coursing, sport hunting, overhunting, and habitat loss. According to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), an international not-for-profit organisation headquartered in Namibia and dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild, the five female cheetahs are aged between two years and five years, and the male cheetahs are aged between 4.5 years and 5.5 years.
Since it’s a matter of little risk according to the CCF, the aircraft bringing the cheetahs to India has been modified to allow cages to be secured in the main cabin but will still allow vets to have full access to the cats during the flight. Eight officials and experts will oversee the Namibian cheetahs during the mission, including Prashant Agrawal, High Commissioner of India to Namibia, Yadvendradev Vikramsinh Jhala, chief scientist for Project Cheetah and Dean of Wildlife Institute of India; Sanath Krishna Muliya, veterinarian, Union Environment Ministry; Laurie Marker, CCF Founder, and Executive Director; Eli Walker, CCF conservation biologist and cheetah specialist; Barthelemy Batalli, CCF data manager and Ana Basto, CCF veterinarian.