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Madhya Pradesh: Quarantine enclosures better than last time, 12 cheetahs to arrive tomorrow

Twelve cheetahs will arrived from South Africa tomorrow and they will be moved to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh (PIc. Courtesy ANI)

By Amit Kumar

New Delhi: The Cheetah Project Chief of India SP Yadav on Friday said that arrangements are in place at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park for 12 African Cheetah being brought from South Africa to ensure that the big cats do not face any kind of disturbance.

“Close cameras have been installed and the big cats have been fitted with radio collars for live tracking. The quarantine enclosure we have made this time is better than the previous one,” SP Yadav said while speaking to ANI. As many as 12 Cheetahs from South Africa will arrive on February 18 in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park after South Africa last month signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the re-introduction of Cheetahs in India to establish a viable cheetah population in the Asian country.

SP Yadav said that after bringing Cheetahs to Kuno National Park from South Africa all of their health will be tested and then they will be kept in quarantine for a Month. For this 10 quarantine boomers have been made which will be kept. Two Cheetahs each stay in two enclosures and the rest of the other cheetahs will be kept in separate quarantine boomers.

“Tonight at around 8 pm, the C-17 Globemaster Cargo plane of the Indian Air Force will take off from O R Tambo International Airport Johannesburg and is expected to land at Gwalior Airport at 10:00 am on the 18th February. This distance will be covered in almost 10 hours. The Indian Air Force aircraft left Ghaziabad Hindon Airport on Feb 16 at 6.00 am and reached there at 12:30 according to the time of South Africa” Yadav told ANI.

Cheetah Project Chief Further told ANI that the Indian Air Force cargo plane has 11 crew members who belong to the IAF, apart from this, as an advance party, our IG, DIG from the National Tiger Conservation Authority, Veterinary Doctor, Custom Officer have also been sent so that on arrival here There should not be any inconvenience in custom. Cheetah experts from South Africa will also fly in a plane with those who will come to Gwalior.

“The cheetahs coming from two different reserves are kept in crates made according to international standards. Our experience of bringing cheetahs from Namibia helps a lot that’s why the whole exercise is going very smoothly,” he added.

Asking about the differences between Namibian Cheetah and South African Cheetah, Yadav told ANI that there is no difference in species between the cheetahs of Namibia and South Africa, but they are completely wild cheetahs of South Africa, whose character is wild.

Yadav, who is secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NCTA), further told ANI that after the arrival of Cheetahs at Gwalior, there will be customs clearance, and other formalities as per international convention, and after that, all Cheetah will be loaded into an Air Force MI-17 helicopter that will take them to Kuno National Park. There is already a helipad and its maintenance work has also been done for the same along with mandatory clearance for landing.

“The 12 Cheetahs that are being brought here have been selected on a technical basis. All of them have been fitted with radio collars and were kept for 30 days of quarantine. We can track them through satellite. The proper vaccination is already done,” he added.

Union Minister Bhupendra Yadav, Narendra Singh Tomar, Jyotiraditya Scindia, and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan will be present on the occasion of the release of Cheetahs at Kuno National Park.

Earlier, eight cheetahs brought from Namibia were released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Kuno National Park on the occasion of his birthday on September 17, 2022.

Radio collars have been installed in all the cheetahs and monitored through satellite. Apart from this, a dedicated monitoring team behind each cheetah keeps monitoring the location for 24 hours.

The MoU on the reintroduction of Cheetahs to India facilitates cooperation between the parties to establish a viable and secure cheetah population in India; promotes conservation and ensures that expertise is shared and exchanged, and capacity is built, to promote cheetah conservation.

Under the ambitious project of the Indian Government-Project Cheetah- the reintroduction of wild species particularly cheetahs is being undertaken as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines.

India has a long history of wildlife conservation. One of the most successful wildlife conservation ventures ‘Project Tiger’ which was initiated way back in 1972, has not only contributed to the conservation of tigers but also to the entire ecosystem.

In 1947-48, the last three cheetahs were hunted by the Maharaja of Korea in Chhattisgarh and the last cheetah was seen at the same time. In 1952 the Government of India declared Cheetahs extinct and since then Modi government has restored cheetahs after almost 75 years.