India's wildlife diversity has received a boost with 12 cheetahs arriving in Madhya Pradesh from South Africa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said.
The 12 cheetahs arrived on Saturday and were released into quarantine enclosures at the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Sheopur district, five months after the first batch of eight of these fastest land animals were brought there from Namibia, another African nation.
Tagging a tweet by Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on the Cheetahs arriving in Madhya Pradesh, Modi said on Twitter, "India's wildlife diversity receives a boost with this development." In his tweet, Yadav said Saturday, "Welcome, Project Cheetah, launched under PM Shri @narendramodi ji's leadership, reached another milestone today in Kuno National Park. Released 12 cheetahs in the presence of MP CM Shri @ChouhanShivraj and Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Shri @nstomar."
Their inter-continental translocation is part of the Indian government's ambitious programme to reintroduce these animals in the country seven decades after they became extinct. The country's last cheetah died in Koriya district of present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947 and the species was declared extinct in 1952.
With the addition of these 12 members, the count of cheetahs at the KNP has gone up to 20. Prime Minister Modi had released eight felines from Namibia into the KNP on September 17 last year.
The cheetahs from Namibia, five females and three males, are currently in hunting enclosures at the park before their full release into the wild.