Cheetah In India
On 17 September 2022, cheetah reintroduction in India begins. Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park will host eight cheetahs arriving from Namibia. The cheetahs will be kept in a specially built enclosure for a few months before being released into the wild. This is the first time that cheetahs have been reintroduced into the wild in India since they became extinct there in 1952.
This is the first time a large carnivore has been relocated from one continent to another. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change is working in collaboration with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), which is spearheading the project on behalf of the Indian government.
Cheetah Reintroduction in India
The reintroduction of Cheetah in India has been launched with the release of three cheetahs into their newly built enclosure. The Cheetah reintroduction in India has started with the release of Two male Cheetah and one female cheetah in Kuno National park, Madhya Pradesh
This is a big step forward for the conservation of this species which is currently extinct in India. The enclosure has been built to closely resemble the natural habitat of the cheetahs and it is hoped that they will eventually be able to breed and thrive in this environment.
The project is being closely monitored by scientists and conservationists who are hopeful that it will be successful in bringing this iconic species back from the brink of extinction.
- The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a large cat that is indigenous to Africa and central Iran. It is the fastest land animal, capable of speeds ranging from 80 to 128 km/h.
- Cheetahs are classified into four subspecies. Several factors endanger the cheetah, including habitat loss, conflict with humans, poaching, and high susceptibility to disease.
The cheetah is a large cat that is indigenous to Africa and central Iran. It is the fastest land animal. The cheetah is different from the leopard in many ways, including its physical appearance and hunting habits. That’s why as part of the reintroduction programme Cheetahmitras have been constituted.
The ‘Cheetahmitras’ are a group of roughly 400 young people who have been trained to raise cheetah awareness among the locals of surrounding villages. — how they are different from leopards in behaviour and looks
The cheetah’s physical appearance sets it apart from other cats. Cheetahs have slender bodies, long legs, and long tails. They are also the only cats with non-retractable claws. Their coat is short and sparse, which helps them stay cool when running long distances.
Cheetahs hunt differently than other cats, too. They rely on speed to catch their prey instead of stealth. After chasing down an animal, they will bite it on the back of the neck to kill it. Cheetahs typically hunt in groups, which gives them a better chance of catching prey.
How did Cheetahs go extinct in India?
- The Cheetah is thought to have disappeared entirely from the Indian terrain when Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Koriya hunted and killed the last three recorded Asiatic cheetahs in 1947.
- In 1952, the Indian Government declared the Cheetah extinct in India.
- The Cheetah is the only large carnivore that has gone extinct in the country due to a combination of hunting and loss of habitat.
How Many Cheetahs will be Brought to India?
Eight cheetahs are arriving from Namibia, and the Indian government is attempting to obtain an additional 12 from South Africa.
Why from South Africa?
South Africa’s cheetah population began to decline two decades ago until a conservation programme was initiated, which boosted their numbers to 500. South Africa is now short of space for cheetahs. As a result, the translocation initiative will benefit both India and South Africa.
Cheetah in India
Despite enormous and ever-increasing demographic pressures, India has lost only one big wild animal species since independence in 1947. And, excluding the Javan and Sumatran rhinoceroses, which existed only in the country’s easternmost reaches, India has never lost a major animal species, except the Cheetah. As a result, Cheetah has a unique significance for the national conservation ethic and ethos. The name “Cheetah” is derived from Sanskrit and means “the spotted one.”
India has successfully protected some vital habitats for iconic flagship species such as the tiger, Asian elephant, gharial, and the great one-horned rhinoceros. The grassland and scrub-thorn forest habitats, on the other hand, have been diminishing since they are typically seen as a wasteland and a blank by India’s state forest agencies. Because practically all fertile grasslands have been transformed into croplands, the blackbuck, the Cheetah’s primary food in these areas, is also living in peril owing to a conflict with agricultural people.
The historical range of Cheetah in India
The historical range of Cheetah in India included the entire country, except for the high mountains, coasts, and the northeast region; it included the areas from west of Bengal in the east to west of Pakistan into Afghanistan and Iran in the west, and from Punjab in the north to northwestern Tamil Nadu in the south.
Extinction of Cheetah in India
The major causes of cheetah loss in India were large-scale capture of wild animals for bounty, sport hunting, substantial habitat modification, alongwith an associated loss in prey base. The last wild cheetahs were shot in 1948 in the Sal woods of Koriya District, Chhattisgarh State, with rare sightings from the central and Deccan areas till the mid-1970s.
IUCN STATUS of Cheetah
African Cheetah: Vulnerable
Asian Cheetah: Critically Endangered
CITES status: Appendix-1 of the List
Comparison between the two Cheetah Species
Asiatic & African Cheetah
|Feature||African Cheetah||Asiatic Cheetah|
|Habitat||Around 6,500-7,000 African cheetahs present in the wild.||Less than 100 ,found only in Iran.|
|Physical Characteristics||Bigger in size as compared to Asiatic Cheetah.||Smaller and paler. Has more fur, a smaller head and a longer neck. Usually have red eyes and they have a more cat-like appearance.|
|IUCN status||Vulnerable||Critically Endangered|
Cheetah Translocation Project
- The initiative intends to transfer African cheetahs to India after the Indian cheetah was declared extinct in 1952.
- Cheetah reintroduction in India has started with release of three cheetahs — two male siblings and a female in kuno National Park , MP. Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park to host eight cheetahs arriving from Namibia.
- A species “reintroduction’‘ means releasing it in an area where it can survive. In the next five years, 50 Cheetahs will be introduced into India’s various National Parks.
- Initially, 8-12 cheetahs will be relocated from South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana.
- The cheetahs relocation has started in India from the Kuno-Palpur National Park in the Madhya Pradesh’s districts of Sheopur and Morena.
- This will be the first time a big carnivore will be relocated from one continent to another.
- India attempted to get Asiatic cheetahs from Iran but was turned down. According to a recent remark by an Iranian government official, the earth is home to just 12 Asiatic cheetahs.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species classifies cheetahs as “vulnerable.”
Relocation Site for Cheetah in India
Cheetah in India are reintroduced starting from the Kuno National park. Why Kuno?
Because of its ideal habitat and substantial prey base, Kuno Palpur National Park in Madhya Pradesh was placed high on the priority list among the ten studied locations in five central Indian states for contemplating cheetah introduction. Furthermore, a significant amount of rehabilitation expenditure has already been undertaken at this location in preparation for the introduction of Asiatic lions. The current size of Kuno National Park is 748 km2. It has no human settlements and is part of the wider Sheopur-Shivpuri dry deciduous open forest ecosystem, which covers an area of 6,800 km2.
According to the 2010 surveys and evaluations, the other proposed places for cheetah reintroduction in India include Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary-Bainsrorgarh Wildlife Sanctuary complex, Shahgarh Bulge near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, and Mukundara Tiger Reserve.
Kuno National Park
- Kuno National Park is spread over an area of 748.76 sq. km.
- It is located in the Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh.
- The Kuno River, one of the major tributaries of the Chambal River, flows through its entire length, bisecting the National Park division.
- Kuno Park is known for its leopards, jackals, and Chinkara.
- The Wildlife Institute of India and the Wildlife Trust of India have shortlisted Palpur-Kuno park as a habitat for cheetahs and Asiatic lions.
- The cheetah that once roamed in India’s northern plains became extinct in India in 1948.
- Plans to reintroduce cheetahs to Kuno National Park from South Africa are underway.
- The Kuno can carry populations of all four of India’s big cats, the tiger, the leopard, the Asiatic lion and cheetah, all four of which had coexisted within the same habitats before they were exhausted to overhunting and habitat destruction.
- The leopard and striped hyena are the only larger carnivores within the Kuno National Park, with the single lone tiger T-38 returning to Ranthambore earlier in year (2021).
The cheetah is a large cat that is indigenous to Africa and central Iran. It is the fastest land animal. The cheetah has been reintroduced in India after being extinct there for over 70 years. This is a big deal because the cheetah is an apex predator and its presence will help maintain the balance of the ecosystem.
The cheetahs have been brought to India from Africa and are being kept in captivity at the moment. They will be released into the wild once they have acclimated to their new surroundings. This process could take up to a year.
The reintroduction of the cheetah in India is a positive step towards conservation of this species. It also brings hope for the future of other endangered animals in India.
In conclusion, the cheetah is an important part of the ecosystem and its reintroduction in India would be a great success. There are many challenges that need to be overcome before this can happen, but with the help of local communities and government officials, it is possible to bring this magnificent animal back to its homeland.