India welcomes cheetahs for the first time in seven decades...PM Modi to release these Namib felines!

India on Saturday welcomed cheetahs for the first time in seventy years as eight cheetahs from the African country of Namibia arrived in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be releasing three of them from their cages to the quarantine enclosures at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. The felines were brought to the country as part of its programme to reintroduce them to India seven decades after it was declared extinct in the country. 

A special chartered aircraft Boeing 747, painted with the face of a feline on its nose, carried these eight cheetahs from Namibia. The aircraft landed at the Indian Air Force Station in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh in the morning hours of Saturday and the cheetahs were then put on board the Indian Air Force choppers that transported them from the air base to Kuno National Park. 

Participating in the historical event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release three of the eight cheetahs from their cages and initially, all these felines will be kept in quarantine enclosures before releasing them into the park. According to reports, the cheetahs remained without food during the 10-hour flight journey and will be served food once they are released in the enclosures. 

Once Modi released three cheetahs from their cages, the senior officials will then release the rest of them to the enclosures. The cheetahs were completely wiped out from India due to hunting, habitat loss, and coursing. The Indian government then declared the cheetahs extinct in the country in 1952. Nearly two decades later, since 1970, the government assayed to re-establish the species in the country and after several efforts, India has finally inked an agreement with Namibia.

Based on the pact, Namibia is donating the first eight cheetahs- five females and three males to reintroduce the animal in the country after seven decades. These cheetahs were living in several national parks in Namibia and they are aged four years on average. Speaking about the reintroduction of cheetahs on Indian soil, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that reviving an already extinct cat species is a historic step and will boost tourism in the state. 

He said, "No greater gift for MP than the fact that the cheetahs from Namibia are coming to Kuno National Park. They had gone extinct and it's a historic step to reintroduce them. This is the biggest wildlife event of this century. This will rapidly boost tourism in MP." According to ANI, SP Yadav, the chief of Project Cheetah, said that Prime Minister Modi will release two cheetahs from enclosure number one and after that about 70 meters away, at the second enclosure, he will release another cheetah.