The proposal of bringing eight African Cheetahs to India was first introduced in the year 2010 by the central government. The translocation of these eight African cheetahs is all set to begin after the Supreme Court has approved this project. The Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, India will be a home to these translocated African cheetahs. This project is a part of India’s first inter-country big cat relocation program.
This project is being carried out after the Madhya Pradesh government received confirmation from the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change. For this relocation program, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) of South Africa has donated three female cheetahs and five male cheetahs.
According to the report submitted to the state government, an expert committee visited four sites in Madhya Pradesh and one site in Rajasthan to select a suitable habitat for the cheetahs.
Bringing cheetahs from Africa is a part of the Indian Government’s efforts to reintroduce the fastest animal back into the wild after the extinction of Asiatic cheetahs in the year 1950. The final decision of bringing the animals to India was taken after the EWT’s National Cheetah Metapopulation Manager, Mr. Vincet Van Der Merwe visited the Kuno National park in Madhya Pradesh, India.
The EWT manager visited the zoo in order to assess it and prepare a suitable habitat for the cheetahs. Manager Vincet found the Kuno National Park in India to have one of the best habitats for the cheetahs. He mentioned a few minor suggestions to renovate the park that would make it a suitable place for the cheetahs.
While speaking to Hindustan Times, a forest official has stated that the forest department has started the preparation for the translocation of these animals. The central government of India has allotted ₹ 14 crores for this project. The forest department is being very careful about this project as the success of this project will determine if more cheetahs should be brought to India or not.
In January 2020, the Supreme Court approved this project and formed a three-member committee that includes a former director for the Wildlife of India Ranjit Singh, Director General (DG) for the Wildlife of India Dhananjay Mohan and, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Wildlife Ministry of Environment and Forest. The DIG will guide the National Tiger Conservation Authority throughout the translocation of African cheetahs from South Africa, Namibia to India.