By Karmas Saluja, Year 9, The British School, New Delhi
On September 17, 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a group of Namibian cheetahs into an enclosure at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park. The aim of this reintroduction and conservation project is to restore the cheetah to a natural habitat in India. This is one of the world’s first intercontinental large wild carnivore translocation projects.
Also read, Cheetah – The Fastest Mammal on Land
Of the 20 adult cheetahs that were imported, four have died in captivity and two have died while ranging free. Of the litter of four cubs, three are dead. Currently, 14 adult cheetahs and one cub are surviving and they are in some form of captivity or the other.
It is reported that the next batch of cheetahs will be transported from South Africa and introduced into Madhya Pradesh’s Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, which will be ready to accept the spotted felines by the end of the year.
Did You Know?
Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animals and can run at speeds of up to 65 mph. There are five subspecies and all have suffered major drops in numbers caused by climate change, hunting by humans, and habitat destruction.
India was home to the Asiatic cheetah. Their population was wiped out last century, with the last documented Asiatic cheetah being shot by Maharajah Ramanuj Singh Deo in 1947. The Asiatic cheetah now survives only in Iran.
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