Home » Kudos – PM Modi releases ‘India’s guests’ Eight Cheetahs

Kudos – PM Modi releases ‘India’s guests’ Eight Cheetahs

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 3 minutes read

By: Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, deserves a big applause for releasing of cheetahs into quarantine enclosures in Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.The eight cheetahs were a gift from the government of Namibia. The transcontinental is the first of its kind on any continent and the eight cheetahs will be the founders of a new population.About 12,000 years ago, a mass extinction occurred that eliminated 75 per cent of the world’s large mammal species. Fortunately, a handful of cheetahs managed to survive this extreme extinction event and were able to restore the world’s population of cheetahs.
Inia’s successes in managing the world’s largest population of wild tigers proves it has the credentials to bring cheetahs back.Project Cheetah was approved by the Supreme Court of India in January 2020 as a pilot programme to reintroduce the species to India. The concept of bringing the cheetah back was first put forth in 2009 by Indian conservationists, along with Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), a not-for-profit organisation, headquartered in Namibia, which works towards saving and rehabilitating the big cat in the wild. The reintroduction of cheetah into the wild is a step towards correcting an ecological wrong and fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mission life.
But for 75 years — the entirety of its existence as an independent nation — India has been bereft of cheetahs, the world’s fastest land animal.A small population of Asiatic cheetahs now only remain in Iran with which a deal to translocate the animals fell through considering the country has barely 50 of these beasts remaining in the wild.If cheetahs no longer existed, there would be a domino effect – referred to as a trophic cascade. 
The cheetah was completely wiped out from India due to excessive hunting and shrinking grasslands, its natural habitat. Saving this magnificent animal from extinction requires innovative conservation methods that address the welfare of both cheetah and human populations over large landscapes.The Cheetah is one of the most ancient large cat species, with ancestors dating back over five million years to the Miocene epoch. The Cheetah is also known for its speed. The Cheetah is the fastest terrestrial animal on the planet, living in Africa and Asia.Cheetahs are threatened by human-wildlife conflict, illegal wildlife trade, poor sperm quality, and lack of genetic diversity, but one of their greatest challenges to survival is the loss of habitat together with loss of prey base. The shrinking of their natural habitat is due to a combination of increasing human populations and climate change impact.The major population of cheetahs, of which only about 7000 mature individuals survive in the wild and it remains only in African countries like Botswana, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Thanks to Indian government’s efforts to preserve cheetahs. 7 years ago, the Wildlife Institute of India launched a Rs 260-crore cheetah reintroduction scheme. This might be the first intercontinental cheetah translocation project in history. The Ministry of Environment announced an “Action Plan for Cheetah Introduction in India” at the 19th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). India plans to introduce eight to ten cheetahs every year and in five years, they hope to have a population of 50 wild cheetahs in India.There’s certainly more to do. But the good news is that humans and cheetahs can survive and thrive together if we can create the right conditions. There is no doubt that if people can be persuaded to find a little room in their hearts for these shy, fragile cats, there’s a chance to prevent them from sprinting further to extinction.

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