By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, 6 adult cheetahs relocated to India for Project Cheetah have died within the first year of their arrival, prompting a reconsideration of importing cheetahs from countries other than South Africa and Namibia.

More about the news

  • Initial plans involved obtaining cheetahs from South Africa and Namibia, with agreements at the highest diplomatic levels in place.
  • The vulnerability of some cheetahs to infections due to their biological tendency to develop ‘winter coats’ during India’s summer and monsoon months was a significant factor in the deaths of at least two animals.
  • South Africa has been considered as a source for future cheetah batches, but concerns about the winter coat issue remain.
  • Many of the currently relocated cheetahs in India have not fully adapted to the environment, and most remain in enclosures.
  • The location for future batches of cheetahs will be the Gandhi Sagar Park in Madhya Pradesh, replacing the Kuno National Park where previous cheetahs were placed.
  • Experts are considering the option of importing cheetahs from the Northern Hemisphere (e.g., Kenya) that are free-ranging and more likely to adapt to Indian conditions.
  • Factors such as logistics, age, and gender will be considered before deciding on the next batch of cheetahs, likely in December or January.

 Cheetah Reintroduction Project in India

  • Project Cheetah is the world’s first intercontinental large wild carnivore translocation project.
  • The Cheetah Reintroduction Project in India formally commenced on September 17, 2022, with the objective of restoring the population of cheetahs, which were declared extinct in the country in 1952.
  • The project involves the translocation of cheetahs from South Africa and Namibia to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.
South African Model for Conserving Cheetahs

·       In South Africa, a conservation strategy called meta-population management was used to protect cheetahs.

·       This strategy involved moving cheetahs from one small group to another to ensure that they have enough genetic diversity and to maintain a healthy population.

·       This approach was successful in maintaining a viable population of cheetahs in South Africa; in 6 years, the meta-population grew to 328 cheetahs.


Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh

·       Location: Situated in Madhya Pradesh, it borders the northern boundaries of the Mandsaur and Nimach districts, adjacent to Rajasthan.

·       Landscape: The sanctuary features vast open landscapes and rocky terrain, contributing to its unique natural setting.

·       Vegetation: Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary comprises various types of vegetation, including northern tropical dry deciduous forest, mixed deciduous forest, and scrubland.

·       Flora: Some of the notable flora found within the sanctuary include Khair, Salai, Kardhai, Dhawda, Tendu, and Palash trees and plants.

·       Fauna: The sanctuary is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including Chinkara (Indian Gazelle), Nilgai (Blue Bull), Spotted Deer, Striped Hyena, Jackal, and crocodiles.

·       It offers a habitat for both herbivores and carnivores, making it an important conservation area in the region.


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