The Madhya Pradesh government will radio collar 10 leopards and as many hyenas in its Kuno National Park to understand their behaviour and interaction with cheetahs set to be introduced there, Chief Wildlife Warden J S Chauhan said Thursday.
It has asked the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to provide the radio collars along with a team of specialists for this.
Last month, India and Namibia signed an agreement for the reintroduction of cheetahs, declared extinct in the country in 1952.
Namibia has the world's largest population of cheetahs.
"It has been decided to put radio collars on leopards and hyenas, 10 each, in Kuno National Park," Chauhan told PTI.
He said the purpose is to understand their behaviour, and breeding ecology and to see how they interact with the cheetahs.
"We have asked Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, to provide us with radio collars along with a team of specialists," Chauhan said.
Eight to 10 cheetahs are likely to be flown in from Namibia for their introduction at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh's Sheopur district, officials said, adding they are likely to be brought to India before August 15.
Bhopal-based wildlife activist Ajay Dubey said these radio collars were awaited for long.
"There has been a long delay in getting the radio collars for the leopards and hyenas. After regular follow-ups, the state forest department in May this year sought 10 radio collars on an urgent basis along with a team of specialists," he said, citing documents accessed through RTI applications filed by him.
Dubey said there appears to be a lack of coordination between the Madhya Pradesh forest department and the WII. The state government should ensure that the radio collars are brought at the earliest, he said.
The cheetah is the only large carnivore that got completely wiped out from India, mainly due to over-hunting and habitat loss. The last spotted feline died in 1948 in the Sal forests of Chhattisgarh's Korea district.
According to the pact, India and Namibia will share and exchange expertise and capacities to promote cheetah conservation in their ranges.
(Inputs from PTI)