The Palpur-Kuno sanctuary in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh may soon become home to Cheetahs, which will be translocated from Namibia for revival of this endangered and now-extinct species in India.
“If all goes well as per the plan, then Cheetah would be introduced in the Palpur-Kuno habitat by the end of December or early January next year,” Madhya Pradesh Forest Minister, Sartaj Singh told PTI.
“The Cheetahs will be brought from Namibia for the revival of the now-extinct animal in the country,” he said.
“Surveys have been done in this regard and opinion of the experts are in favour of the re-introduction of Cheetah at Palpur-Kuno,” the minister said.
Recently, a team of experts from Namibia including Lorrie Marker, conservationist and senior forest department officials visited Palpur-Kuno to workout the strategy for reintroduction of Cheetah in the Palpur-Kuno sanctuary spread in an area of nearly 344.686 square kilometer, the department sources said.
For the ambitious Cheetah reintroduction plan, wildlife experts have chosen Palpur-Kuno and Nauradehi habitats in Madhya Pradesh and Shahgarh in Rajasthan, sources said.
But, the choice of Shahgarh may hit a wall with locals opposing the reintroduction plan in the desert state.
These places were chosen after the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) carried out a survey of various habitats across the country for the reintroduction of Cheetah, sources said.
Earlier, the Palpur-Kuno sanctuary was also shortlisted as the second home of the famous Asiatic Lions of Gujarat, but the programme ran into trouble with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi opposing the shifting of lions from Gir forest.
The issue of translocation has become a bone of contention between the two BJP-ruled states as Modi has refused to part with the Asiatic lions for the neighbouring state, following which a day-long bandh was observed on January 4 this year in the district to protest the move, they said.
The Forest Minister, when asked about the plan of bringing Asiatic Lion to Palpur Kuno, said both the animals can co-exist in the sanctuary.