India prepares to welcome 12 African cheetahs



Photograph: Magda Ehlers

Twelve African cheetahs will soon arrive in India, following the relocation of eight big cats from Namibia last year.

On Saturday, five females and seven males will be transported from South Africa to a park in central India.

The transfer is in accordance with a deal with South Africa to bring dozens of cheetahs to India over the following decade.

Asiatic cheetahs became extinct in India in the 1940s.

According to experts, excessive hunting and habitat destruction contributed to their extinction.

The Supreme Court of India declared in 2020 that African cheetahs, a distinct subspecies, might be brought into the nation for experimental purposes at a “well-designated location.”

In 2022, eight were relocated from Namibia to the Kuno National Park in the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India.

Now, twelve more big cats will be introduced alongside those from Namibia.

Uttam Sharma, the director of Kuno National Park, stated that quarantine enclosures will be constructed for the big cats. According to Indian law, imported animals must be isolated for a month before and after entering the nation.

The 12 cheetahs have been quarantined in South Africa since July. However, their relocation was delayed as the two countries hammered out the agreement’s final terms.

Wildlife specialists are concerned that the lengthy confinement periods the cheetahs are put to may be detrimental to their health and physical condition.

Mr. Sharma, however, stated that all preparations for the arrival of the large cats “had been finished.”

Since the 1950s, India has made efforts to reintroduce cheetahs. An attempt with Iran in the 1970s failed after the Shah of Iran was toppled and negotiations stopped.

The reintroduction of cheetahs will strengthen local businesses and aid in the restoration of ecosystems that support large cats.

However, there are concerns that releasing the cheetahs into a park could put them in danger. Relocation of animals is usually burdened with danger.


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