Cheetah Relocation Plan – A Glimpse At More Than 50 Years Of Efforts And The Way Forward


Eight cheetahs will be flown from Namibia to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park on Saturday for the species’ reintroduction under the ‘Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India.’

The big cats have been vaccinated and outfitted with satellite collars, and are being brought from isolation at Namibia’s Cheetah Conservation Foundation (CCF) Center in Otjiwarongo.

The ambitious plan of the Indian Government for the transcontinental relocation of the Cheetahs is carried out with the aim of making India, once again the home to the majestic cheetah, the world’s fastest known land animal.

As the first phase of the plan is about to reach its first milestone on Saturday, here’s a glimpse of the 50 years of efforts of the Country:

First Acknowledgment Of The Plight Of Cheetah: The first ever alarm that shook India was the death of the last Cheetah of India in the year 1947. In the year 1952 Cheetahs were declared extinct in the country. The plight of the cheetah in India was acknowledged by the Government of India during the first wildlife board meeting.

First Mooted Idea Of Bringing Cheetah To India: The then-Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi initiated negotiations with Iran in the early 1970s for bringing the Asiatic cheetah to India in exchange for the Asiatic lions.

Revival Of Proposal To Bring Cheetah Back To India: The discussions to bring back cheetah resurfaced again during the Manmohan Singh government in the year 2009.

Cheetah Relocation Plan: After 50 years the first proposal was introduced, and the transcontinental plan for the relocation of cheetahs was introduced in the year 2022,’Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India.’

Transportation of Cheetah – How It Will Be Done?

The relocation of cheetahs was not an easy task the first and foremost task was to find and negotiate with countries that have a good population of cheetahs. After that, the ministry of environment and Cheetah Task Force formed a formal framework for collaborating with the governments of Namibia and South Africa.

The cheetahs selected were appropriately sampled and screened in the country of origin (Namibia) using appropriate molecular diagnostics/seroprevalence methods as per international norms.

The cheetahs were chosen based on their health, wild disposition, hunting skills, and ability to contribute genetics that will result in a strong founder population, according to the CCF document.

How Cheetahs Will Be Welcomed – Plans On Arrival In India

Quarantine: Kept under observation in a quarantine facility in the host country for the manifestation of any illness after capture – The cheetahs must be quarantined for a month before and after shifting from one continent to another, according to protocols. When the quarantine period is over, they will be released into a larger enclosure of six square kilometers to adjust to their new surroundings.

Continuous Monitoring: Monitored for the manifestation of any sickness as per the regulation of import of live animals – There will be continuous monitoring of Cheetahs and proper arrangements of health checks would be made by the authorities of the national park.

Proper Hunting Arrangements: The animals will be able to hunt in the larger enclosures, according to a report in The Indian Express. “We will closely monitor not only their health but also how they adapt to Kuno, hunting, feeding, excreta, and so on, in this larger enclosure where they will have prey and be able to hunt.”

They will be released into the 740 sq km Kuno National Park once this is determined to be satisfactory,” SP Yadav, member secretary, National Tiger Conservation Authority, told the newspaper.

While the national park is 740 square kilometers in size, the cheetahs will be free to roam in a 5,000 square kilometers area surrounding it.

GPS Tracking: Each cheetah would be equipped with a satellite-GPS-VHF radio collar facilitating their future monitoring and individual identification. GPS tracking collars enable remote detection of the location of the collared animal.

The Global Positioning System is used to record the exact location of the animal and store the readings at pre-determined intervals. Locations are saved and can be downloaded in a variety of ways.

Proper Photo Records: Photo profiles of all the individual cheetahs would be maintained by the NTCA, WII, MP forest department, cheetah management and research teams in India.

Cheetah cubs born in Kuno for at least two generations would be collared prior to their dispersal at the age of 16-17 months.


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