Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the first cheetah in the enclosure at Kuno National Park in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday to mark inauguration of Cheetah Project and reclaimed lost glory of India after a gap of 70 years. Incidentally, the national is celebrating birthday of Modi today.
A specially designed aeroplane carrying five female and three male cheetahs took off from Namibia, Africa, yesterday and reached India at 5.30 in the morning for further journey from Gwalior to Kuno National Park well before the programme at 11 am. All the big cats in the age group of 4-5 years were radio-collared under Namibia Cheetah Conservation Fund and Project Mission.
The high frequency satellite radio collars will help Namibia forest officers know locations of the cheetahs from a distance of over 8,000 km. These big fastest sprinters on earth are released into the small quarantine enclosure for one month. They would be released in the wilderness having a good prey base of 139 leopards, 100 sloth bears and many herbivores.
Cheetahs became extinct in the country in 1952 and the major reasons for extinction included: habitual huntings, hunting of black bucks a major prey species for cheetah, loss of habitat etc. Now, re-introduction of eight cheetahs in Kuno National Park is the movement of pride for the citizens.