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Cheetahs For India On Plane To Gwalior, Will Then Take Chopper: 10 Points

There are fewer than 7,000 cheetahs left around the world

New Delhi:
Eight cheetahs from Namibia – flying in a special cargo plane – will land at the Gwalior airport in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday morning. The speedy big cats will then be flown in a helicopter to the Kuno National Park where they will be released.

Here are the top points in this big story:

  1. The plane with cheetahs will arrive at Gwalior’s Maharajpura airbase, operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF), around 5 am tomorrow. By 6, they will be flown in an IAF Chinook heavy-lift helicopter to the National Park.

  2. “The cats are under very mild sedation, but they are not tranquilised. They are all looking great,” said Dr Laurie Marker, world’s leading experts on cheetahs, who is on the jet with the big cats.

  3. According to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), an international not-for-profit organisation headquartered in Namibia and dedicated to saving the fastest land animal, the five female cheetahs bound for India are aged between two and five years, while the males are aged between 4.5 years and 5.5 years.

  4. India in the past was home to Asiatic cheetahs but the species was declared extinct domestically by 1952. The big cats are being brought to India from Namibia as part of an intercontinental translocation project.

  5. The national park is located in Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur district, located around 165 km from Gwalior. The Kuno park was selected as a home because of its abundant prey and grasslands.

  6. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to release three of the cheetahs into the park’s quarantine enclosures on September 17, which is also his birthday, an official said.

  7. But critics have warned that the cheetahs may struggle to adapt to the habitat and may clash with the significant number of leopards already present.

  8. Talking to news agency PTI on Friday, principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) wildlife, JS Chauhan, said, “The cheetahs will arrive in Gwalior and from there they will be flown in a special helicopter to KNP.”

  9. The ‘African Cheetah Introduction Project in India’ was conceived in 2009 and a plan to introduce the big cat by November last year in KNP was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials have said.

  10. Considered vulnerable under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, there are fewer than 7,000 cheetahs left around the world — primarily in the African savannas.

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