The eight cheetahs airlifted to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park (KNP) from Namibia in mid-September will be moved to an acclimatization enclosure in November before being released back into the wild, a member said on Monday. of the Center’s Big Cats Working Group.
The task force formed to monitor KNP cheetahs in Sheopur district and take a call on their move from quarantined areas to a larger enclosure spread over an area of more than five square kilometers held a meeting on Monday. At the meeting, it was decided that the African country’s spotted cats would be moved to the acclimatization ‘boma’ (pen) in November, the working group member told PTI on condition of anonymity. He said the cheetahs would be released gradually into the acclimatization enclosure and added that the task force made the decision after lengthy discussions. He said that two members of the body appointed by the Center could not attend the meeting due to unavoidable reasons. Previous meetings had remained inconclusive on the movement of cheetahs, now housed in quarantine areas. The previous meeting was held on October 27 at the KNP. According to initial plans, cheetahs, the world’s fastest land animal, were to be kept in quarantine for a month. According to international standards, wild animals before and after being transferred to another country must be quarantined for a month to check for the spread of any infection, experts said. The task force was set up on September 20 to monitor the introduction of cheetahs into KNP and other areas designated by the Union Department of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change. Meanwhile, the eight cheetahs — five females and three males, ages 30 to 66 months and named Freddy, Alton, Savannah, Sasha, Obaan, Asha, Cibili and Saisa — were doing well in their new homes, officials said. They are currently housed in six “bomas”, two of which are 50 meters by 30 meters and four are 25 square meters, and are raised on buffalo meat, they said. Cheetahs were reintroduced to the KNP on September 17 at a ceremony by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, announcing the return of the big cats to India 70 years after they were declared extinct in the country. The last cheetah died in India in Koriya district in present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947, and the species was declared extinct in 1952.
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