India to bring back cheetah after 70 years from Namibia


New Delhi: The centre government on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Namibia to bring back cheetahs to India. The Asiatic cheetah was declared extinct in India in 1952.

The MoU was signed between Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav and Namibia Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah.

The first batch of Cheetah is likely to arrive before August 15.

“Happy to share that India has signed a historic MoU with Namibia to promote Wildlife Conservation and Sustainable Biodiversity Utilization. The MoU seeks to promote conservation and restoration of cheetah in their former range from which the species went extinct” Union Minister Bhupender tweeted.

“The MoU facilitates the development of a mutually beneficial relationship to promote wildlife conservation and sustainable biodiversity utilization based on the principles of mutual respect, sovereignty, equality, and the best interest of both India and Namibia” said the environment Ministry in a statement.

The Kuno National Park, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, where the cheetahs will be kept in an enclosure, has the capacity to house 21 to 36 cheetahs.

Funding for the project will come from the MoEFCC and the National Tiger Conservation Authority, supplemented by private finance through corporate social responsibility (CSR), the government has said.

It is said that Cheetah has a very special significance for the national conservation ethic and ethos. Bringing the cheetah back to India would have equally important conservation ramifications.

The main goal of the Cheetah reintroduction project in India is to establish viable cheetah metapopulation in India that allows the cheetah to perform its functional role as a top predator and provides space for the expansion of the cheetah within its historical range thereby contributing to its global conservation efforts.

“While the current carrying capacity for Kuno National Park is a maximum of 21 cheetahs, once restored the larger landscape can hold about 36 cheetahs. The carrying capacity can be further enhanced by including the remaining part of the Kuno Wildlife Division (1,280 sq km) through prey restoration” it said.


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