Cheetahs from Namibia to be translocated on September 17

Education on wildlife, including cheetah, planned for 10,000 school students, says Forest Minister

September 10, 2022 06:28 pm | Updated 06:28 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR

Two cheetahs are seen inside a quarantine section before being relocated to India.

Two cheetahs are seen inside a quarantine section before being relocated to India. | Photo Credit: AP

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is all set to make translocation of cheetahs in India, set to take place on September 17 on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday, a big event across the country.

Ahead of the event, Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav will take stock of the situation at Kuno National Park, where a dedicated 800 sq. km. enclosure has been prepared for the purpose, on Sunday.

“In 1950s, the cheetah got extinct. Our Ministry has made huge efforts for reintroduction of cheetah. On September 17, the translocation of cheetahs from Namibia would take place in presence of Prime Minister,” Mr. Yadav said, while addressing a conference of zoo Directors here on Saturday.  

The Union Minister directed all zoo authorities to install specially designed display boards providing information about the cheetah and its reintroduction, at gate of every zoo of the country.

“During past one year, all aspects of translocation have been examined by scientists from South Africa and Namibia. But question arises — how are we going to involve next generation in the programme so that they will get know about cheetah and other animals?” said Mr. Yadav.

“We have going to make about 10,000 students between ninth and 12th standard aware about wildlife, especially cheetah. Young scientists of National Museum of Natural History, Delhi, Wildlife Institute of India and fresh officers of Indian Forest Service will take 40 minutes of virtual classes. Videos of wildlife and cheetahs will be shown to students,” said Union Minister.  

The ‘African Cheetah Introduction Project in India’ was conceived in 2009. Eight African cheetahs are likely to be brought to Kuno.

At present, cheetahs are present in the zoos of Jamnagar, Mysore and Hyderabad. There are 52 Tiger Reserves and 32 Elephant Reserves in the country. Mr. Yadav directed zoo authorities to strive for achieving international accreditation, such as the ones secured by 18 Tiger Reserves. Children should know that about the 250 water bodies that originate from 52 Tiger Reserves and people should be sensitised about them, he said.

Earlier, inaugurating a national conference on sustainable coastal management, Mr. Yadav said climate change has started to directly impact our lives with cyclones, cloud bursts, flash floods and such natural extreme weather phenomenon sadly becoming routine and reminding us of the urgency of the crisis.

“The increased frequency and greater severity of some categories of extreme weather events such as cyclones; coastal erosion; and the rising pace of meltdown of polar icecap and glaciers have been significantly impacting our coastal community. Marine ecosystem is particularly affected by climate change, natural disasters and sea level rise,” he pointed out.

“Our coral areas are degrading and our marine fish stocks are declining, and several species of ornamental fishes, seahorses and sea-cucumbers are fast disappearing. Such depletion and degradation, unless arrested, will impact livelihood, the health and well-being of the coastal population, adversely impacting the prospects of India’s sustained economic growth,” the Minister said.

Endowed with a long coastline of 7,500 km, India has a large number of coastal zones. These areas support lives and livelihood of 20% of India’s population. In addition, these regions support 17,000 species of plants and animals including endangered sea turtles, informed Mr. Yadav.

“Millions have their lives and livelihood tied to fisheries and aquaculture taken up in these areas. India’s blue economy supports 95% of the country’s business through transportation and it contributes 4% of GDP. Marine realm is largest component of earth system that stabilises climate and supports life on Earth. The pollution is adding to woes,” Mr. Yadav said.

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