Cheetahs in India’s forests after 70 years

Cheetahs return to the forests of India after 70 years

Cheetahs in India’s forests after 70 years

An agreement has been agreed between India and the African country of Namibia under which the leopards that became extinct in India 70 years ago will be provided.

According to Voice of America’s Sheikh Azizur Rahman, according to the agreement reached on Wednesday, Namibia will supply eight African leopards to India in August this year. These cheetahs will be housed in the Kono National Park (KNP) in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Indian officials say that this agreement is part of a larger project under which 12 leopards from South Africa will also be housed in the wildlife park. The final agreement in this regard has not been signed by the two countries yet.

According to Indian officials, KNP Wildlife Park will be the new home of leopards in India. Where there is quality space for animals, abundant prey and extensive pastures.

The Indian Ministry of Environment has said in a statement that the project to reintroduce cheetahs to India is aimed at breeding cheetahs in the country. Indian authorities want to establish cheetahs as important predators in forests.

The reintroduction of the cheetah species to India will begin on August 15, 2022, the country’s 75th Independence Day. After signing the agreement with the Deputy Prime Minister of Namibia, India’s Environment Minister Bhupinder Yadav tweeted that 75 years of India’s independence will be completed with the reintroduction of the fastest land animal species, the cheetah. The leopards will be re-acclimated to the environment of the Indian region.

A statement issued by the ministry said that 21 leopards can be brought to KNP at present, but after rehabilitation of a large area, 36 leopards can be housed here. The fastest animal on land, leopards are becoming extinct all over the world and currently there are about 7 thousand leopards in the world. Most of them are in Africa.

Experts attribute the extinction of cheetahs to the extinction of cheetah habitats and over-hunting.

In the 16th century, there were an estimated 10,000 Asiatic leopards in India. During the 19th century, due to over-hunting by the Indian rulers and the British authorities, the cheetah population was decimated. The last three Asiatic leopards in India were poached in 1948 by a local king. Cheetahs were officially declared extinct in India in 1952.

A cheetah breeding program was started in 2010 by India. Under this program African cheetahs were to be brought to KNP. But in 2012, an Indian court ordered the closure of the cheetah rehabilitation program due to an ongoing tiger breeding program.

In 2020, the Supreme Court of India ruled in favor of the rehabilitation program of African cheetahs in India and issued instructions that these cheetahs can be brought to India experimentally in carefully selected places. Since this decision, work on the recovery program of cheetahs in India has been started. The Indian authorities are hopeful that this time the rehabilitation program of African cheetahs in India will be successful and the breeding of cheetahs will start again in the country.

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