Cheetahs To Be Finally Reintroduced To India After Last Were Hunted To Local Extinction 70 Years Ago
A handful of cheetahs are set to be reintroduced into India more than 70 years after the animals were hunted to local extinction in the country.
Through India’s first international big cat reintroduction project, five male cheetahs and three females donated by Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) of South Africa will be brought from Namibia and South Africa and introduced to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park.
The park is located 200 miles south of New Delhi and will allow the animals to explore a blend of grassland and forested areas as they help establish what will hopefully be the species’ long term survival.
It comes after ruthless hunting in the country caused cheetahs to be wiped out from more than 90% of their historical range by the 20th century.
The relocation of the cheetahs was confirmed after their new home was inspected by EWT national Cheetah Metapopulation manager Vincet Van Der Merwe, who visited Kuno last week to assess the preparations and suitable habitat for cheetahs, The Hindustan Times reports.
Merwe confirmed the park was one of the best habitats available in India for the cheetahs, having ‘perfect grassland and prey base for the animals.’ He also gave a few minor suggestions, such as fencing, to make it more suitable for the animals.
As well as aiming to repopulate the area, it is hoped the reintroduction of the big cats will have a more widespread positive ecological impact; helping preserve grasslands, as well as encouraging a wider understanding and recognition of the value of wild spaces, which have previously been underappreciated.
Officials have said they hope to have the cheetahs in the park by September.
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CreditsThe Hindustan Times
The Hindustan Times