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(cheetah are known for their massive speed and rare breed)

Seven decades after it was once stated extinct in India, the cheetah will be reintroduced in the country, on Saturday. Under ‘Project Cheetah’, the Central authorities is “re-introducing” eight African cheetahs – 5 women and three adult males -- at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. To mark this arrival, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host the goodwill ambassadors from the ‘land of the brave’ on 17 September -- his 72nd birthday.


What is the Project Cheetah? 


Project Cheetah used to be permitted with the aid of the Supreme Court of India in January 2020 as a pilot programme to reintroduce the species to India. The notion of bringing the cheetah lower back was once first put forth in 2009 by means of Indian conservationists, along with Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), a not-for-profit organisation, headquartered in Namibia, which works in the direction of saving and rehabilitating the huge cat in the wild. 


In July 2020, India and the Republic of Namibia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the Namibian authorities agreeing to donate the eight tom cats to launch the programme. This is the first time that a wild southern African cheetah will be brought in India, or anywhere in the world.


Why are cheetahs being reintroduced? 


The fundamental cause of the venture is to strengthen wholesome meta-populations in India that allow the cheetah to execute its functional function as a pinnacle predator, the government had said beforehand this year.


The cheetah is a flagship grassland species; whose conservation also helps in keeping other grassland species in the predator food chain.


The homecoming plan


In 1947, Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Koriya, Surguja, in what is today regarded as Chhattisgarh, reportedly shot lifeless the remaining three recorded Asiatic cheetahs.


According to the reintroduction plan, the cheetahs will be positioned in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, beginning with Madhya Pradesh. The PM will release three cheetahs at Kuno, while the rest will be launched in phases. 


Project coordinators said the spotted cats will be sporting satellite tv for pc radio collars for geolocation tracking. Each cheetah will additionally be assigned a committed monitoring team.


Close to 50 cheetahs will be introduced into the wild over the next five years.


Logistics involved


The cheetahs will be flown in on a Boeing 747. A whole of Rs ninety six crore has been dispensed for the project, stated officers at the ministry of environment, woodland and local weather trade (MoEFCC). To help the project, Indian Oil has furnished an additional Rs 50 crore. 


Meanwhile, the Kuno national park has been equipped with the required facilities according to the Cheetah Conservation Fund. The group of workers has been trained, and large predators have been moved away, said officials. 


Public attention campaigns have additionally been formalised for the local communities who will be termed Cheetah Mitras with a neighborhood mascot named too-- “Chintu Cheetah”. 




With Kuno national park being domestic to lions and leopards, issues have been raised over the coexistence of reintroduced cheetahs with the existing species. Chances of removing due to battle are high, wildlife experts have pointed out. 


The reintroduced cats may want to additionally face expanded vulnerability due to their small size and climatic and ecological variations between their domestic us of a and India.


This, however, has no longer dimmed the excitement of wildlife enthusiasts who are ready to seize a glimpse of the world's fastest animal running across the Indian grasslands.

Eunice Achieng

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