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New task force set up to monitor movement of Cheetahs  in Kuno National Park

Union Ministry of Environment has constituted a new task force to monitor the cheetahs released in Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park

Keeping in mind the importance of the trans-continental relocation of African cheetahs in India after seven decades of extinction of the Asiatic species in the country, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has constituted a Task Force.

Eight of the African species — five females and three males — have been brought from Namibia and were released in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 17. The Task Force will monitor the introduction of these felines in KNP and other suitable designated areas.

It will review the health status of these big cats, the maintenance of the quarantine and soft release enclosures, the protection status of the entire area while also ensuring that forest and veterinary officials are adhering to the protocols with regard to the health, behaviour and upkeep of these felines.

Further it will monitor the hunting skills and adaptation of cheetahs to KNP’s habitat and also their release from quarantine bomas to soft release enclosures and then to grassland and open forest areas.

The force will explore opening of the habitat for eco-tourism and suggest regulations in this regard besides making suggestions for tourism infrastructure in KNP’s fringe areas.

Constituted for a period of two years, this Task Force will interact with Cheetah Mitras and local communities on a regular basis and involve them in protection of these felines.

The members of this Task Force are Principal Secretary (Forests), Madhya Pradesh; Principal Secretary (Tourism), Madhya Pradesh; Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & Head of Forest Force, Madhya Pradesh; Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden, Madhya Pradesh; Alok Kumar, Retd. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) & Chief Wildlife Warden, Madhya Pradesh; Dr. Amit Mallick, Inspector General, National Tiger Conservation Authority; Dr. Vishnu Priya, Scientist, Wildlife Institute of India; Abhilash Khandekar, Member MP State Board for Wildlife; and Subhoranjan Sen, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest.