How well can Gandhi Sagar sanctuary accommodate free-ranging cheetahs? | In Focus podcast

Ravi Chellam shares his insights about the Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, whether it will be a perfect home for cheetahs, what preparations have been made and how the authorities will ensure that the cheetahs don’t stray into human habitations.

Updated - June 24, 2024 04:43 pm IST

Published - June 21, 2024 06:01 pm IST

In September 2022, India launched an ambitious project to restart a self-sustaining, cheetah population in the country by importing African cheetahs. In all, about 20 adult cheetahs were translocated to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. Of these 20, 13 have survived, and with another 13 cubs born, there are now 26 cheetahs at Kuno.

Obviously, Kuno is not big enough to accommodate this many animals in the wild. So Gandhi Sagar wildlife sanctuary – much smaller in area than Kuno, also located in MP -- is being prepared to become the second home of the imported cheetahs. According to the government, the preparations are almost done, and plans for importing more cheetahs from Africa to Gandhi Sagar will be finalised after the monsoons.

While the government has said that the Gandhi Sagar wildlife sanctuary is a perfect home for the cheetahs, there are concerns about prey density, space, and adaptability.

What preparations have been made to make Gandhi Sagar a suitable home for the African cheetah? Are these preparations, including large-scale relocation of prey animals from elsewhere, sound from a conservation viewpoint? How will the authorities ensure that the cheetahs don’t enter human habitations?

Guest: Ravi Chellam, Bengaluru-based wildlife biologist and conservation scientist.

Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu

Edited by Jude Francis Weston

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