Sheopur (MP): After almost two months of quarantine, two of the eight cheetahs, which were brought to India from Namibia under its reintroduction programme, have been released to a bigger acclimatisation enclosure at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday.
The other six cheetahs will be released into the acclimatisation enclosure of the national park in a phased manner, said said a senior officer of the Kuno national park.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted video of the two new cheetahs being released into the bigger enclosure at Kuno. “Great news! Am told that after the mandatory quarantine, 2 cheetahs have been released to a bigger enclosure for further adaptation to the Kuno habitat. Others will be released soon. I’m also glad to know that all cheetahs are healthy, active and adjusting well,” he tweeted.
On Sunday, Modi expressed his delight over the release of two cheetahs in the bigger enclosure and said that all the cheetahs are healthy and adjusting well. Officials said that all cheetahs are healthy and adjusting well to Indian conditions. They are being fed buffalo meat.
Great news! Am told that after the mandatory quarantine, 2 cheetahs have been released to a bigger enclosure for further adaptation to the Kuno habitat. Others will be released soon. I’m also glad to know that all cheetahs are healthy, active and adjusting well. 🐆 pic.twitter.com/UeAGcs8YmJ
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 6, 2022
Officials of the park said that the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change decided to release the cheetahs, both males, in to bigger enclosure after getting no-objections from the veterinary experts, deployed by the ministry of animal husbandry. “The cheetahs were tested for all infectious diseases by the vets and then released,” said another officer.
India has undertaken one of the most ambitious international wildlife conservation programmes by reintroducing the cheetah. The Project Cheetah initiative is being led by the Indian government in collaboration with international experts. The wild animal is being released according to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines.
Meanwhile, authorities of the national park have heightened surveillance and security in the rerave forest areas to prevent surreptitious entry of poachers. “Apart from the radio collars put on all cheetahs, we are using drones and a dedicated team to monitor activities of the big cats round the clock,” said the official.
Cheetah is believed to be the fastest animal on the planet which can run at the speed of 100-120 km. The wild cats had been driven to the extinction during the pre-Independence era owing to hunting by the Britishers and princely states’ rulers. It’s believed that the remaining three cheetahs were killed in 1947-48 by the Maharaja of Korea in Chhattisgarh. Cheetahs were formally declared extinct in 1952.