The Union government said on Wednesday that 50 cheetahs will be imported into the country over the next five years as part of an action plan.
A cohort of around 12 to 14 cheetahs will be imported from South Africa or Namibia, according to an “Action Plan for the Introduction of Cheetahs in India” released by the environment ministry during the 19th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority on Wednesday. Each of them will be fitted with a satellite-GPS-very high-frequency radio collar.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is interested in protecting and conserving seven important big cats,” said Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav in a statement. Over five years, 50 cheetahs will be released into various parks.
The wild cats will be brought to Kuno Palpur National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh after being transported internationally by either a commercial airline or a chartered flight. Cheetahs, the world’s fastest land animals, we’re supposed to be reintroduced into the country in November 2021, but the plan was thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to officials who attended the conference.
The crew and preparations are ready to begin translocation once the third wave has passed, according to officials. The almost 300-page plan stated, “The animals’ ancestry and condition shall be verified in the host country to guarantee that they are not from extremely inbred stock and are in the ideal age group to conform to the needs of the founding population.”
According to the plan, the Union government, in collaboration with the ministry of environment and the Cheetah Task Force, will establish a formal structure through the ministry of external affairs to interact with the governments of Namibia and/or South Africa.
By increasing wild prey base and spreading awareness, I think the ministry should start researching other larger, more open habitats in Gujarat and Rajasthan and prepare them for cheetah introduction in 10 years by increasing wild prey base and spreading awareness.