The Indian government last week formally reintroduced cheetahs from Namibia for the first time, decades after declaring them extinct from their native habitat in India.
The goal was to resurrect their extinct population and give them a suitable environment in India once more.
Last week, a specially designed cargo plane transported eight cheetahs—five females and three males—all the way from Windhoek, Namibia, to Madhya Pradesh, a state in central India.
They flew in a helicopter to Kuno National Park, their new home, from the state’s Gwalior airport.
Biologists, wildlife specialists, and veterinarians traveled across the continent with the cats.
The mission to bring back the extinct species of cheetahs in India seems intriguing while also being a very difficult job.
The cheetahs were welcomed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who then let them out of the enclosures and into Kuno National Park.
The whereabouts of each cheetah was tracked via a satellite radio collar, and their activities were observed by a committed group of volunteers.
Cheetahs had lived in the forests alongside lions and tigers and other large cats before being eradicated from India in 1952.
The reintroduction of cheetahs into India, according to the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), was historic.
It claimed that their implementation would significantly contribute to the revival of India’s open forest and grassland ecosystems.
The cheetah can run 113 kilometers per hour, making it the fastest land mammal in the world. It is currently found in Iran and 19 African nations.
According to officials, 12 more cheetahs are expected to travel from South Africa to India this year to increase the country’s cheetah population.
An Indian Forest Service officer named Parveen Kaswan predicted that the next 20 years will be both tough and exciting for the continued existence of cheetahs in India.
According to Kaswan, rulers and the British used to kill not only cheetahs but the majority of the charismatic animals.
“It wasn’t until it was too late that the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was passed. According to him, cheetahs had already vanished from India.
Reintroduction and rewilding programs are long-term endeavors, according to experts.
“It will take at least 15 years before we can express firm conclusions about whether they are excellent or poor ideas.
“This is the typical period it takes for a species to adapt, rewild, breed, and prosper well enough to become part of the new habitat to which they have been brought,” writes Swati Thiyagarajan.
The reintroduction of cheetahs in India is covered by conservation journalist Thiyagarajan.
The reintroduction is being overseen by experts from both the Indian and African sides, and the creatures will be closely watched.
“Every chance will be provided for the program’s success, but in the end, it depends on the animals themselves.”
A vast sanctuary covering 289 square miles is Kuno National Park.
There are hills, grasslands, and forest cover there.
Chitals, nilgai, sambar, wild pig, chinkara, and other animals would be among the prey items available to the new cheetahs.