Wild cheetahs, which had become extinct in India, were reintroduced into the Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh in 2022. Image Credit: ANI

New Delhi: Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav has said that 12 more cheetahs would be coming from South Africa on Saturday via the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) C-17 Globemaster plane, which has already taken off from India in the morning.

Addressing a press conference in the national capital on Thursday, the Union Minister said that these 12 cheetahs will be released on the same day of their arrival at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.

The Cheetah Project Chief SP Yadav informed that the aircraft had taken off for South Africa this morning and will land in Gwalior around 10 am on Saturday.

“IAF’s C-17 Globemaster took off for South Africa from Hindon airbase today morning to bring 12 cheetahs to the country. The IAF is not charging any amount for this task. The plane will take off from South Africa at 8 pm on Friday and will land in Gwalior the next day around 10 am. The cheetahs will be released in Kuno National Park by Union Minister Bhupendra Yadav and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the presence of Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Jyotiraditya Scinida on February 18,” Yadav said.

He further added that after taking clearance from Customs, the cheetahs will be brought here by MI-17 helicopter.

“All the cheetahs have adapted well to their surroundings in Kuno National Park and were brought from Namibia on September 17, 2022. All cheetahs are keeping well except one named ‘Sasa’, and now she is also doing well” he added.

On September 17, 2022, eight Cheetahs were brought to the Kuno National Park from Namibia in South Africa and were released by PM Modi on his birthday.

Radio collars have been installed on all the cheetahs and monitored through satellite. Apart from this, a dedicated monitoring team for each cheetah follows it location round the clock.

The MoU on the reintroduction of cheetahs to India facilitates cooperation between the parties to establish a viable and secure cheetah population in India, promotes conservation, and ensures that expertise is shared and exchanged, and capacity is built, to promote cheetah conservation.

Under the ambitious project of the Indian Government-Project Cheetah- the reintroduction of wild species particularly cheetahs is being undertaken as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines.

India has a long history of wildlife conservation. One of the most successful wildlife conservation ventures ‘Project Tiger’ which was initiated in 1972, has not only contributed to the conservation of tigers but also to the entire ecosystem.