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.
“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.”
Great news! 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. 🐆 pic.twitter.com/UeAGcs8YmJ— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 6, 2022
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.
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.
The cheetahs have landed safely in India and have been released into @KunoNationalPrk! Dr. Laurie Marker and staff monitored the health of the cheetahs during the flight and everything went very smoothly. https://t.co/YVvrBcv9nv— CCF Cheetah (@CCFCheetah) September 17, 2022
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.
Help CCF and the Project Cheetah team to deliver well wishes on the future of cheetahs in India by sending your regards directly to @PMOIndia using his online communications portal. You may experience some issues and delays but this is his direct link. https://t.co/CrnuAoBdQE— CCF Cheetah (@CCFCheetah) October 6, 2022
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.