Animal Conservation

India new home for the cheetah – The New Indian Express

In August, India’s wildlife conservation effort will have a date with history. By the middle of next month, four pairs of African cheetahs will have landed in the country as part of a deal the Indian government reached with the Republic of Namibia last week. A unique intercontinental translocation of the big cats will pave the way for the reintroduction of cheetahs as part of an ambitious project to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. Its population is dwindling in Africa, and the world’s fastest land animal will test a new home in Asia.

For India, it is the culmination of decades-long planning reaching an impact point in 2020 when the Supreme Court cleared the project on a trial basis. After assessing ten sites, the Center focused on Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh as the basis for the project. Bringing the charismatic species back to India has multiple connotations, one of which, as described by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, is the restoration of evolutionary balance since the big cat is an apex predator that used to roam the country’s forests before its extinction in 1952. Cultural symbolism aside, the successful reintroduction of the cheetah would also boost grassland ecosystems and give India a special place in global wildlife conservation and management.

The cheetah reintroduction project has its fair share of criticism and challenges. First, it is not a reintroduction because India imports the African cheetah, not the Asian subspecies, which is only found in Iran. Cheetahs need large grasslands free of humans and with an abundant prey population, which the chosen site does not exactly offer. Spread over 750 km², Kuno, previously selected for reintroduction from the Asiatic Gir lion forests in Gujarat, is home to leopards and tigers, which means cheetahs will have more than one competing cat in an unfamiliar habitat where they will have to s ‘adapt .

Furthermore, there are valid arguments for spending millions of rupees on an alien species when the conservation of flagship native species faces extreme resource scarcity. The project promises to be bold but will technically and scientifically test the country’s wildlife conservation capacity.

In August, India’s wildlife conservation effort will have a date with history. By the middle of next month, four pairs of African cheetahs will have landed in the country as part of a deal the Indian government reached with the Republic of Namibia last week. A unique intercontinental translocation of the big cats will pave the way for the reintroduction of cheetahs as part of an ambitious project to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. Its population is dwindling in Africa, and the world’s fastest land animal will test a new home in Asia. For India, it is the culmination of decades-long planning reaching an impact point in 2020 when the Supreme Court cleared the project on a trial basis. After assessing ten sites, the Center focused on Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh as the basis for the project. Bringing the charismatic species back to India has multiple connotations, one of which, as described by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, is the restoration of evolutionary balance since the big cat is an apex predator that used to roam the country’s forests before its extinction in 1952. Cultural symbolism aside, the successful reintroduction of the cheetah would also boost grassland ecosystems and give India a special place in global wildlife conservation and management. The cheetah reintroduction project has its fair share of criticism and challenges. First, it is not a reintroduction because India imports the African cheetah, not the Asian subspecies, which is only found in Iran. Cheetahs need large grasslands free of humans and with an abundant prey population, which the chosen site does not exactly offer. Spread over 750 km², Kuno, previously selected for reintroduction from the Asiatic Gir lion forests in Gujarat, is home to leopards and tigers, which means cheetahs will have more than one competing cat in an unfamiliar habitat where they will have to s ‘adapt . Furthermore, there are valid arguments for spending millions of rupees on an alien species when the conservation of flagship native species faces extreme resource scarcity. The project promises to be bold but will technically and scientifically test the country’s wildlife conservation capacity.