BRICS Summit 2023: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has made a commitment to enhance India's cheetah population. Speaking on the second day of the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Ramaphosa conveyed to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, "You have come to the homeland of cheetahs. We, as South Africa, take pride in gifting cheetahs to India.
Ramaphosa lauded India's remarkable endeavors in successfully reintroducing these majestic big cats, which had tragically vanished from the country's landscape 70 years ago. He further praised India for its dedicated approach to addressing the challenges that these magnificent creatures face, while consistently upholding their well-being by offering regular updates on their status.
Under India's Project Cheetah, a batch of 20 radio-collared cheetahs were relocated to Kuno National Park from Namibia and South Africa, leading to the birth of four new cubs. Regrettably, the initiative faced setbacks following the demise of nine cheetahs, including three cubs, within a single national park.
After 70-year absence, dozen African cheetahs were transported from South Africa to India
In a significant step towards reintroducing cheetahs to Indian soil after a 70-year absence, a dozen African cheetahs were transported from South Africa to India. This momentous event took place in February of this year.
Arriving in Madhya Pradesh from South Africa, the twelve cheetahs were carefully placed within quarantine enclosures at Kuno National Park (KNP) in Sheopur district. This development followed the earlier introduction of eight of these swift creatures from Namibia, yet another African nation, five months prior.
This intercontinental translocation forms a pivotal part of the Indian government's ambitious initiative to revive the cheetah population in the country, seven decades after these animals had vanished. The last cheetah in India succumbed in the Koriya district of what is now Chhattisgarh in 1947, subsequently leading to the species' official declaration of extinction in 1952.
The latest inclusion of these twelve cheetahs elevates the total count of these magnificent felines at Kuno National Park to twenty. In a noteworthy event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had previously released eight cheetahs from Namibia into Kuno National Park on September 17 of the preceding year.
Carried by an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft, the twelve cheetahs - comprising seven males and five females - were transported from South Africa, arriving at the Gwalior airport.