January 5, 2022,
The Union government launched an action plan for introducing Cheetah in India.
- The ‘Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India’ was released by environment ministry in the 19th meeting of National Tiger Conservation Authority.
- Under the action plan, 50 cheetahs will be introduced in India, in the next five years.
- Around 12 to 14 cheetahs will be imported from South Africa or Namibia.
- Each of the cheetahs will be fitted with a satellite-GPS-very high frequency radio-collar.
International transportation of the cheetahs will be done by either a commercial airline or by a chartered flight. They will be transported to Kuno Palpur National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh.
Framework for collaboration
Under the plan, Union government, ministry of environment and Cheetah Task Force will form a formal framework for collaborating with governments of Namibia and/or South Africa.
Fastest land animal of the world was expected to be reintroduced in November 2021. However, but the plan got delayed amid covid-19 pandemic.
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
NCTA was created in December 2005, on the recommendation of the Tiger Task Force, which was constituted by the Prime Minister of India for management of Project Tiger & Tiger Reserves in India. A programme called “Tiger Protection Programme” (Project Tiger) was started to project Tiger in 1973, in collaboration with WWF.
Reintroduction of the cheetah in India
Reintroduction of cheetah in India involves re-establishment of a population of cheetahs in those areas where they had previously existed but were hunted into extinction during Rajput Indian royalty, Maratha Indian royalty and Mughal Period as well as British Raj. The Mughal emperor Akbar used to keep Cheetahs to hunt gazelle and blackbucks. In 1948, Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Koriya had shot the three last Asiatic cheetahs from India. Reintroduction process also involves identification and restoration of their former grassland scrub forest habitats, within the scope of duties of local forest department and by using Indian Central Government funding.
Scientific name of Cheetah is Acinonyx jubatus. They are a large cat native to Africa and central Iran. They are fastest land animal, with running speed of 80 to 128 km/h. They occur in a variety of habitats like savannahs in the Serengeti, hilly desert terrain in Iran and arid mountain ranges in Sahara. They have been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.