MP: 12 South African cheetahs arrive at Kuno National Park
Twelve cheetahs from South Africa arrived in Madhya Pradesh as an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft carrying the big cats landed at the Gwalior Air Force base on Saturday. The felines were later airlifted to the Kuno National Park in the Sheopur district, where they will be released into quarantine enclosures by Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav.
Why does this story matter?
- In August last year, India planned to airlift these South African cheetahs. However, it failed to do so amid a delay in a translocation agreement between the two nations.
- These cheetahs are the second batch of felines arriving at the Kuno National Park. On September 17, 2022, the first batch of eight cheetahs from Namibia was released by PM Narendra Modi on his birthday.
Cheetahs flown to KNP on IAF helicopters
The seven male and five female South African cheetahs were airlifted from the Gwalior air base to the Kuno National Park (KNP) on Indian Air Force helicopters, reported India Today. According to Indian wildlife laws, a month-long quarantine is mandatory for such imported animals after their arrival in the country. Furthermore, they must be kept in isolation for another 30 days later.
MP CM, Yadav to release cheetahs into KNP enclosures
According to the news agency PTI, these big cats will be released by Union Minister Bhupender Yadav and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan into the quarantine enclosures at KNP. Meanwhile, KNP Director Uttam Sharma stated that they had built 10 quarantine bomas (enclosures) for the South African felines. He said two pairs of cheetah brothers would be accommodated in two of these facilities.
Visials of cheetahs arriving at Gwalior
I thank PM Modi from bottom of my heart: Chouhan
Speaking to the news agency ANI, Chouhan said that the total number of cheetahs at KNP would now become 20. "In Kuno National Park today, the number of Cheetahs is going to increase. I thank PM Modi from the bottom of my heart, it's his vision. 12 Cheetahs will be rehabilitated to Kuno, and the total number will become 20," the MP CM said.
India and South Africa signed MoU in January
According to reports, a delegation from South Africa paid a visit to KNP in September 2022 to assess and review the arrangements at the wildlife sanctuary for housing the South African cheetahs. In January, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was penned between South Africa and India for the official translocation of the world's fastest land animals.
Know about Namibian cheetahs at KNP
Eight cheetahs from Namibia, which were released into KNP in September last year by PM Modi, are now in a hunting enclosure spread over an area of six square kilometers where they can interact with each other. They will be released into the wild soon. Officials said the big cats hunt and kill prey every three to four days and are in healthy condition.
Here's why India is importing cheetahs
Kuno has a good prey base for the cheetahs, which consists of four-horned antelope, sambar, nilgai, chinkara, wild pig, and spotted deer, as per the officials. Notably, cheetahs are the only large carnivore completely wiped out from India due to habitat loss and overhunting. The last spotted cheetah passed away in the Sal forests of Chhattisgarh's Koriya district in 1948.