Abdullah and Hiba, two cheetahs, suddenly made headlines the day India received eight cats from Namibia. Read more
[Abdullah, one of the two Cheetahs gifted to India by Saudi Arabia, is at Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad.]
Hyderabad: Abdullah and Hiba, two cheetahs, suddenly made headlines the day India received eight cats from Namibia.
Abdullah – a male cheetah and Hiba – a female cheetah, were gifted to India by Saudi Arabia ten years ago and have been housed at Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad.
Cheetahs were declared extinct in India some 70 years ago in 1952. They have been in the news ever since it was reported that special planes carrying eight cheetahs – five females and three males, aged two to six, arrived in India.
The cheetahs were released into Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday September 17, 2022 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of the feline reintroduction program in India.
To mark the occasion, the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad organized a rally. It was then that people learned of the existence of the cheetahs gifted to India by Saudi Arabia.
According to Nehru Zoological Park, Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Saud Bin Mohammed Al Saud had gifted two pairs of African lions and cheetahs to India during his visit to the zoo on the occasion of the 2012 CoP11 summit held in Hyderabad,
The zoo had received the animals from Saudi Arabia’s National Wildlife Research Center in 2013. The female cheetah died two years ago while the male cheetah, named Abdullah, is housed in the zoo.
Hiba, the female Cheetah, died in 2020 at the age of eight. She was diagnosed as a paraplegic.
The rally was organized in collaboration with Tejaswi Vidyaranya School, Jedimetla, Rangareddy District, which was attended by around 190 students.
Students also participated in events such as talk shows, drawing, painting and essay writing competitions. A cheetah talk show was made in the cheetah enclosure.
The program was held as part of Telangana’s National Inclusion Day celebrations. S.Rajashekar, Curator of Nehru Zoological Park, hoisted the national flag in the presence of all zoo staff.
[One of the eight Cheetahs who arrived from Namibia released into Kuno National Park of Madhya Pradesh.]
Meanwhile, the Namibian cheetahs will live under a KNP reserved area for two weeks, after which they will be released back into the park.
According to a senior forestry officer in Madhya Pradesh:
“The cheetahs will live in an area reserved for KNP for two weeks. Once they have adapted to the climate of this area, they will be released into the park.”
All cheetahs have a special radio collar fitted to their necks so that their movements can be easily tracked. Their health and movements will be monitored daily by a joint task force of African and Indian wildlife experts,” the forestry officer added.
Spread over 748 sq km in the vast forest landscape of Madhya Pradesh, KNP is the new home of the eight cheetahs. Notably, the area is very close to the Sal forests of Koriya in Chhattisgarh, where the native Asiatic cheetah was last spotted nearly 70 years ago.
Madhya Pradesh forestry officials say KNP was chosen as a suitable destination for cheetahs after a survey of nearly a dozen national parks located in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. .
“These surveys were conducted between 2010 and 2012. Later it was observed that Kuno was the suitable destination. It was the most preferred habitat based on the assessment made by the Wildlife Institute of India and the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) based on climatic variables, prey densities, population of competing predators and historical range,” the officer said.
Kuno is probably one of the few wildlife sites in the country where there was a complete relocation of around 24 villages and their domestic livestock from inside the park years ago. Village sites and their agricultural fields are now overgrown with grasses and managed as savannah habitats.
According to the government’s plan, Kuno offers the prospect of housing four big cats in India – tiger, lion, leopard and cheetah – and ensuring that they coexist as in the past. While the only surviving lion population is in Gujarat, Kuno was originally proposed to provide a second home.
The forest has a large population of leopards with a density of about nine leopards per 100 km2. This remains a concern, considering that the much stronger leopard has an advantage over the slender cheetah, whose strength lies primarily in its extremely fast speed. They are also thought to have greater adaptive potential and a wider range than the cheetah.
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