Cheetahs returned to India at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 72nd Birthday. Video of the historic moment have surfaced showing PM Modi opening the enclosure of the cheetahs and introducing the big cat to their new home. PM Modi was also seen taking a picture of the magnificent creatures from a camera.

The “Project Cheetah” is being popularly called the world’s first intercontinental translocation project. The project is the current ruling party’s step towards wildlife conservation. Three of the eight big cats were released in a special enclosure at the national park.

The eight cheetahs – three males and five females – will be first kept in a quarantine enclosure before being released into the open forest area of the Kuno National Park.

“Decades ago, the age-old link of biodiversity was broken and had become extinct, today we have a chance to reconnect it. Along with these cheetahs, the nature-loving consciousness of India has also awakened with full force,” PM Modi said.

Earlier in January 2020, the Indian Supreme Court gave a green light to the centre to bring African cheetahs to India.

The last cheetah in the country was spotted in Chhattisgarh’s Koriya district back in 1948. In 1952, Cheetah was declared extinct from India.

The Facts of the Matter

Eight cheetahs were flown from Namibia to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park earlier on Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is celebrating his 72nd birthday, was present for the special occasion. He was also joined by Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

Cheetah had been declared extinct nearly 70 years ago after the last Cheetah died in Chhattisgarh’s Koriya district in 1948.

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“Unfortunate that..”: PM Modi on Cheetah’s Arrival to India

Following the remarkable development, PM Modi gave a speech in which he said, “It is unfortunate that we declared cheetahs extinct from the country in 1952, but for decades no meaningful effort was made to rehabilitate the. Now the country has started to rehabilitate cheetahs with new energy.”

PM Modi claimed that by taking more proactive steps to nurture the nature and enviornment, newere avenues of “growth & prosperity” would open up. He added that by having Cheetah’s at the Kuno National Park, the entire grassland ecosystem in the national park will be restored and the national park’s biodiversity will increase.

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Video of PM Modi Releasing Cheetahs

The eight cheetahs were flown from Namibia to Madhya Pradesh in a B-747 Jump Jet. The cheetah’s were released by PM Modi on his birthday, visuals of which are making rounds of social media.

Get to Know India’s New Big Cats

The eight cheetahs – five females, three males – were flown from Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek to Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior. Aboard the flight were two males, both 5.5-year-old and another 4.5-year-old male.

The eight females include a 2-year-old, a 2.5-year-old, two 5-year-olds, and a 3–4-year-old.

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What’s in Store for Cheetahs?

The next steps will include the big cats being kept in quarantine for a month, and then introduced to the open park area in a phased manner. After the quarantine, the cheetahs will be released in a six square kilometer enclosure.

In the larger enclosures, the cheetahs will be able to hunt and prey. The national park administration will be monitoring their health, their preying abilities, their excreta, and other factors. If all goes well, the cheetah’s will then be released into the Kuno National Park’s 740 sq km area.

The cheetahs would also be carrying a satellite-GPS radio collar, so that future monitoring and identification is seamless and without hindrance.


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