In what has become a historical occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday released the Cheetahs that were brought from Namibia to Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park. India welcomed cheetahs for the first time in seven decades as the country launched a programme to reintroduce the felines that were declared extinct in India in 1952.
India has signed a pact with the African country of Namibia and as per the agreement, Namibia has donated the first eight cheetahs. They were brought to India in a special chartered Boeing 747 aircraft that landed at the Indian Air Force Base in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh and after landing, the cheetahs were put on board the Indian Air Force choppers that transported them from the air base to Kuno National Park.
As the event gained national attention, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Gwalior and reached the national park to release the cheetahs. Narendra Modi has released 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.
The first visuals of the cheetahs have become national headlines as Prime Minister Modi released three of them into the enclosures. Once Modi released three cheetahs from their cages, the senior officials will then release the rest of them. 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. 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, has earlier 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.
The reintroduction of the cheetah is being undertaken as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature guidelines under the ambitious Project Cheetah of the Indian government. On the occasion of welcoming cheetahs for the first time in seventy years, Prime Minister Modi shared his address about Project Cheetah on Twitter and wrote, "Project Cheetah is our endeavour towards environment and wildlife conservation."
In his address, Modi said, "It is unfortunate that we declared Cheetahs extinct from the country in 1952, but for decades no meaningful effort was made to rehabilitate them. Today, as we celebrate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the country has started rehabilitating Cheetahs with new energy." He further said, "People will have to show patience and wait for a few months to see these Cheetahs in Kuno National Park. These Cheetahs have come as guests, unaware of this area. For them to be able to make Kuno National Park their home, we'll have to give these Cheetahs a few months' time." Earlier, while releasing them, Modi was seen carrying a camera and taking the picture of Cheetahs.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi releases the cheetahs that were brought from Namibia this morning, at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. pic.twitter.com/dtW01xzElV— ANI (@ANI) September 17, 2022
#WATCH | Prime Minister Narendra Modi releases the cheetahs that were brought from Namibia this morning, at their new home Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.— ANI (@ANI) September 17, 2022
(Source: DD) pic.twitter.com/CigiwoSV3v