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India Is All Set To Welcome First Batch Of Cheetahs After 70 Years

The government of India declared cheetahs extinct in 1952

Cheetah, the only large carnivore, was wiped out due to hunting and loss of habitat
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70 years ago, India declared cheetahs extinct. At present, the nation is all set to welcome the first batch of cheetahs from South Africa in August, after a year’s halt due to the covid-19 pandemic. It was announced by the Union Environment Ministry. The first group of cheetahs will be positioned in Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. This is the first trans-continental shifting of a large carnivore to have ever taken place.

The plan to bring the cheetahs back has always been in the talk and the first draft was proposed in 2009. In 2020, the Supreme Court gave a green signal. Six sites were taken into consideration to revive this large carnivore by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in 2010. They were  Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve and Shergarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan and, Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kuno National Park, Madhav National Park and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. Kuno was picked as the perfect destination for relocation.

While talking to Indian Express, the senior official in the Environment Ministry said,” All the modalities for bringing the Cheetah have been completed and the agreement with South Africa is in place. Now the final clearance from Ministry of External Affairs is awaited. One of our teams is currently in South Africa.” A team from South Africa will reach India on 15 June to check the arrangements. The ministry is in constant contact with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Institute of India.

The last Asiatic cheetahs in India were seen in 1947 when Maharaja Ramauj Pratap Singh Deo of Koriya was believed to have hunted and shot. The government of India declared the cheetah extinct in 1952. It is believed to be the only large carnivore to have been wiped out due to hunting and loss of habitat. 

As per the experts, 35-40 cheetahs are to be located at different sites across India after the first batch gets used to Indian weather conditions.

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