After going extinct in India over 70 years ago, cheetahs are being reintroduced to the country.
Cheetahs used to be considered common in India, as well as across Asia and the Middle East, according to National Geographic. However, now just a small handful remain, with an estimated 50 adults being alive back in 2017.
All Asiatic cheetahs are found in Iran now and they’re considered critically endangered.
The cheetahs that used to be so prevalent in countries like India were killed off by hunters and poachers. India Express reported that the last known Asiatic cheetah in India is thought to have been killed by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo back in 1947. Cheetahs were officially declared extinct in the area in 1952.
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Now, India is working with international alliances to reintroduce cheetahs back to the region. According to Hindustan Times, five male cheetahs and three female cheetahs were donated to the cause by the Endangered Wildlife Trust of South Africa.
The cheetahs will be transported from Namibia and South Africa to Kuno National Park, where they will be released in hopes of growing a sustainable population.
The park is home to a large blend of grassland and forest, which will offer the cheetahs plenty of land to explore, breed, and live.
The Hindustan Times reported that Vincet Van Der Merwe, the manager of the EWT National Cheetah Metapopulation, inspected the area to ensure it was suitable and ideal for the cheetahs prior to the plan being approved. He said it had the “perfect grassland and prey base for the animals.”
Officials are hopeful that the reintroduction of these big cats will positively impact the local ecology and help preserve the grasslands. They also want to foster a deeper appreciation and understanding of the value of wild spaces and nature.
India Express noted that this is the first time a large carnivore has ever been relocated from one continent to another.
They’re hoping to have the cheetahs in India by September of this year.Whizzco