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Latest updates: Cheetahs return to India after 70 years; special arrangements for new guests

Latest updates: Cheetahs return to India after 70 years; special arrangements for new guests

By Sanjay Maurya

Eight cheetahs from Namibia – taking off in a special cargo plane – landed in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday morning, as part of Project Cheetah to reintroduce the feline in India seven decades after it was declared extinct in the country. These cheetahs (5 females and 3 males) were brought in a special cargo flight Boeing-717 and will land at Gwalior. They will then be brought to Kuno National Park by helicopter.

On his 72nd birthday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release the animals in an enclosure spread over 10 km on Saturday at around 10.45 am in the presence of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and wildlife experts. In the year 1952, the cheetah was officially declared extinct by the Indian government. Today after 72 years, once again the cheetahs have returned to India. According to Indian Express, the species reportedly disappeared from the country in 1947 after the last three recorded Asiatic cheetahs were hunted by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of the princely state of Koriya (district in Chhattisgarh).

Latest updates

According to reports, the age of five female cheetahs is between two years and five years, while the age of three males is between 4.5 years and 5.5 years.

A special circle of 5 square kilometers has been made for cheetahs. The South African government and wildlife experts will keep an eye on them. It may take one to three months for cheetahs to adapt to the Indian climate. Earlier, the first glimpse of Indian cheetahs coming to India has been seen.

Cheetah project chief and member secretary National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) SP Yadav said the prime minister would release two cheetahs from enclosure number one and then the PM would release the second cheetah, about 70 meters away, which is the second enclosure. The remaining cheetahs will be released in the quarantine areas created for them.

All the cheetahs have been fitted with radio collars and will be monitored through satellite. Besides, behind each cheetah there will be a dedicated surveillance team which will do 24-hour surveillance,” SP Yadav said.

There is no greater gift for Madhya Pradesh than that cheetahs from Namibia are coming to Kuno National Park. They were extinct and it is a historic step to reintroduce them. This is the biggest wildlife event of this century. This will give a rapid boost to tourism in the state,” Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan said.

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