Cheetahs to travel on empty stomach from Namibia to India
The official said, as a precaution, it is mandated that an animal should have an empty stomach at the time of commencing the journey.
Cheetahs arriving from Namibia as a part of Cheetah reintroduction in India will not be given any food during their entire transit, said a senior forest department official. He said it is to avoid any complications during a long journey which will already cause a nausea-like feeling in animals.
Eight cheetahs will travel from Namibia to Jaipur, Rajasthan, and then another hour to reach Kuno-Palpur National Park in Bhopal, according to JS Chauhan, the principal chief conservator of forests for Madhya Pradesh. He said, as a precaution, it is mandated that an animal should have an empty stomach at the time of commencing the journey.
On September 17, between 6am and 7am, the cheetahs will arrive in India by cargo plane in the capital of Rajasthan. From there, they will be transferred to a helicopter and carried to the Kuno National Park in Bhopal.
Environment ministry officials were looking after arrangements related to the inter-continental cheetah translocation project and were in touch with Namibian authorities, the forest official said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release three cheetahs into quarantine on September 17, which marks his birthday -- as part of the cheetah restoration initiative, seven decades after the animal went extinct in India.
The cheetahs will be housed in small enclosures for a month after arriving, followed by larger ones for a few months to help them acclimate and become comfortable with their surroundings, according to the MP's forest officer. Later, they will be released in the wild, he said.
"We have set up six small quarantine enclosures as per the legal mandate required during the shifting of animals from one continent to another," an official said earlier. According to the protocol, the animals need to be quarantined for a month each before and after shifting from one continent to another, he said.
The cheetah was officially declared extinct in 1952 after the last one died in India in 1947. The African Cheetah Introduction Project in India was created later in 2009. The introduction of the big cat in Kuno National Park by November last year was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, officials said.
(With inputs from PTI)