India PM Modi heralds “great news” as cheetahs released in India exploring bigger habitat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared an exciting update that two of the eight cheetahs brought to India from Namibia for a new life in the Kuno National Park have been released to a bigger enclosure.

In a tweet Sunday, Modi said after mandatory quarantine, the animals were introduced to their wider surroundings for “further adaptation” to their new habitat.

He also posted a video of the cheetahs, fitted with radio collars, taking their first tentative steps.

Cheetahs taking their next steps to freedom in India. Photo: Narendra Modi/Twitter

“Great news! ” he wrote. “Am told that after the mandatory quarantine, 2 cheetahs have been released to a bigger enclosure for further adaptation to the Kuno habitat. Others will be released soon. I’m also glad to know that all cheetahs are healthy, active and adjusting well.”

India declared cheetahs extinct in 1952.

But Modi maintained it was unfortunate that no serious efforts were made to reintroduce them for decades.

However, attempts to reintroduce cheetahs were stalled, even shot down by the country’s courts, before being permitted on an experimental basis.

The pair is exploring their new home. Photo: Narendra Modi/Twitter

Modi is a major backer of the effort to welcome cheetahs to India.

On Sept. 17, eight cheetahs were flown from Africa and released in a small area of Kuno National Park in central India. They arrived on Modi’s 72nd birthday.

At the time, Modi referred to the big cats as “India’s guests,” and thanked the Namibian government for its support.

Eventually, India hopes to reintroduce 40 individual cheetahs to the region — as part of the wider conservation effort.

Conservationist and experts, including the Cheetah Conservation Fund, are overseeing the reintroduction of the species after a 70-year absence from the landscape.

Some concerns have been raised about bringing back a species to a landscape that is so much changed — and about the leopards that also live in the area, but note cheetahs and leopards can get along.

They are among eight cheetahs that completed a 50-day quarantine period. Photo: Narendra Modi/Twitter

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