IAF plane carrying 12 cheetahs from South Africa arrives in MP’s Gwalior

Bhopal (IANS) Indian Air Force’s (IAF) C-17 Globemaster plane carrying as many as 12 cheetahs from South Africa arrived in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior airport on Saturday afternoon, months after eight big cats had been ferried from Namibia.

After reaching the Gwalior air base, the big cats were taken to Kuno National Park, which is located around 200 km, along with South African cheetah experts. Thereafter, the cheetahs would be released into quarantine bomas by the Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also joined the Union Minister on this occasion.

As per the official information, of the 12 cheetahs — seven males and five females — will find their new home at Kuno National Park in Sheopur district.

As many as 10 quarantine enclosures have been created at the reserve for the big cats, officials said. As per Indian wildlife laws, the animals are required to be kept in isolation for 30 days after their arrival in the country.

In September 2022, eight cheetahs from Namibia were flown into India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had released the big cats to the Kuno National Park on his birthday — September 17.

The eight Namibian cheetahs are now in a hunting enclosure — a six square km-area where they can interact with each other — and will soon be released into the wild.

The relocation of 12 cheetahs from South Africa comes three years after the idea was mooted by the Centre — the world’s first intercontinental translocation project that aims at reintroducing the big cats in the country.

The last cheetah died in India in 1947, and the species was declared extinct from the country in 1952.

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