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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

African big cat Cheetah to be reintroduced in India

Nihi Sharma Sahani, Hindustan Times  Dehradun, September 18, 2012
First Published: 00:04 IST(18/9/2012) | Last Updated: 00:06 IST(18/9/2012)

Cheetah, fastest land animal that extinct from India, might be visible soon in the country again. The efforts are on to reintroduce African big cat at Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, told Dehradun based Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

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"Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) is in process of signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Madhya Pradesh for reintroduction of Cheetah in India." told Dr. VB Mathur Dean Faculty, Wildlife Sciences of Dehradun based Wildlife Institute of India (WII). The latter with Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) is working on a project, since 2011, to reintroduce Cheetah in India.

As per Dr Mathur, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) will transport African Cheetah to India. It is estimated that each Cheetah will cost Rs. 2 crore including entire transportation and safe reintroduction cost. India is supposed to pay only transportation cost.

The, Cheetah is the only carnivore that was extinct in independent India. It's been almost 60 years since its extinction was reported.

WII and WTI took up challenges for reintroduction of Cheetah in the country in March 2011. In a comprehensive study that will end in March 2013; both parties jointly surveyed several landscapes for its reintroduction. The baseline study proposed three suitable sites for reintroduction- Kuno-Palpur wildlife sanctuary and Nauradehi wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh and Shahgarh landscape in Rajasthan.

On the recommendations of MoEF, WII prepared site specific action plan at all three proposed sites after conducting extensive survey for assessment of prey and habitat of Cheetah as well as recorded local communities' perception towards wildlife conservation in 2011-2012. It was drawn that Kuno is ready for reintroduction as all five villages are ready for translocation so that reintroduction can easily take place.

Cheetah reintroduction also suffered opposition as National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) didn't approved the project claiming that the specie is exotic and might face environmental impacts post reintroduction.


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