In September 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a coalition of cheetahs into the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. Eight cheetahs, five of which are female, were flown from Windhoek, Namibia, to Gwalior.
It was the first intercontinental transfer of wild cats into India since independence. The proposal for the project, known as ‘Project Cheetah’, was prepared in 2008-09 under the then PM Manmohan Singh.
How has Project Cheetah progressed?
The cheetahs were flown into India following several weeks of medical supervision in Namibia. They will be released into the wild gradually so that they have enough time to adapt to Indian conditions.
It also ensures reduced risk of contracting and spreading infection and hone the skills to hunt Indian prey. The eight cheetahs were housed in six enclosures, referred to as ‘bomas’ and were initially provided with buffalo meat.
All are expected to be moved inside larger enclosures in weeks. The cheetahs are radio-collared and their movements will be tracked. Each animal also has a dedicated tracking team. A team of wildlife scientists, biologists and zoologists are monitoring the initiative.
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Reporting: Jacob Koshy
Voiceover and Production: Abhinaya Sriram