In India, cheetahs were deemed extinct 70 years ago. The identical spotted cats are being reintroduced exactly seven decades later as part of the “The Project Cheetah” initiative.
Eight cheetahs that came into India from Namibia were released into Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park. The spotted cats were released into the wild by the Prime Minister. According to reports, there are five female and three male cheetahs in this group.
What is The Project Cheetah?
The Indian government has launched the ambitious “Project Cheetah” with the goal of reintroducing the species to India’s historic habitat. The project also aims to create a metapopulation in India that enables cheetahs to fulfil their functional role as top predators. It creates space for them to spread out within their historical range, supporting cheetah conservation efforts worldwide.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) rules are being followed for reintroducing wild species, most notably the cheetah. According to the government, the project’s primary goal is to revitalize and diversify India’s wildlife and habitat.
Moreover, The Supreme Court authorized the restoration of African cheetahs to suitable habitat in India in January 2020. This is now achievable roughly ten years after the concept conceived by the UPA-2 administration’s then-environment minister, Jairam Ramesh.
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The Wildlife Trust of India started talking about bringing the cheetah back to India in 2009. At a meeting with experts from across the world, government officials from India, including the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, and also representatives of the state governments, decided to study prospective reintroduction sites.
Action plan for the Project
Moreover, the Centre unveiled a strategy for bringing Cheetah to India in January 2022. Over the course of the project’s five-year lifespan, 50 cheetahs will be released in various National Parks. Furthermore, due to habitat degradation and overhunting, the cheetah is the only big carnivore to have gone extinct in India.
According to the Centre, the introduction of the cheetah is not just an effort to help the species recover but also to help ecosystems recover a lost component that was essential to their evolutionary history.
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