The Asiatic cheetah will return to India after almost 70 years of being declared locally extinct: a batch of the large cats will be sent from Africa, along with experts who will train officers to maintain conservation efforts on Indian soil.
“We will relocate eight cheetahs to the Kuno National Park, to begin with. The idea is to relocate 35-40 cheetahs across the identified sites,” says Dr. Y. V. Jhala, Dean of the Wildlife Institute of India. “As a flagship species, the conservation of the cheetah will revive grasslands and its biomes and habitat,” adds Dr. M K Ranjitsinh. “Endangered species like the caracal will fall under the flagship cheetah project and will be conserved in turn.”
The cheetahs will come by train from Namibia and South Africa, the two countries which have the largest cheetah populations in the world, and sent to the Kuno National Park which spans 261 square kilometres, where other animals from wild pigs to cattles thrive.