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Home India The Moment When Cheetahs from Namibia Were Released in Kuno National Park

The Moment When Cheetahs from Namibia Were Released in Kuno National Park

Prime Minister Narendra Modi released cheetahs flown in from Namibia into a special enclosure at the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday. He also clicked some pictures of the cheetahs on a professional camera after releasing them.

Eight cheetahs were brought to Gwalior from Namibia in a special plane on Saturday morning as part of the cheetah reintroduction programme.

PM Narendra Modi arrives at the Kuno National Park to release the cheetahs. (Image: ANI)

The animals were later flown to the KNP, located in Sheopur district, in two Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters. The KNP is situated on the Northern side of Vidhyachal mountains with an area of 344.686 sq km. It was named after a tributary of Chambal River, Kuno, a forest official said.

The cheetahs were released into a protective enclosure. (Image: ANI)

The last cheetah died in the country in 1947 in Korea district in present day Chhattisgarh, which was earlier part of Madhya Pradesh, and the species was declared extinct from India in 1952.

Project Cheetah is our endeavour towards environment and wildlife conservation, Modi said. (Image: ANI)

After releasing the cheetahs, Modi thanked the government of Namibia for help in the programme to reintroduce cheetahs in India. Project Cheetah, under which the cheetahs were reintroduced in the country after they became extinct seven decades ago, is our endeavour towards environment and wildlife conservation, he said.

Cheetahs are our guests; we should give them a few months to make Kuno national park their home, said Modi. (Image: ANI)

The ‘African Cheetah Introduction Project in India’ was conceived in 2009. A plan to introduce the big cat in the KNP by November last year had suffered a setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

The coverage of protected areas has risen to 5.03 per cent from 4.90 per cent of the country’s geographical area since the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government came to power in 2014, officials said on Saturday.

Highlighting the government’s wildlife conservation efforts, they said there were 740 protected areas covering 1,61,081.62 sqkm in 2014 and their number is now 981 with an area of 1,71,921 sq km. “There has also been an increase in the number of community reserves. From 43 in 2014, their numbers shot up to more than 100 in 2019,” an official said.

India is home to 52 tiger reserves covering approximately 75,000 sqkm area in 18 states, housing approximately 75 per cent of the global population of wild tigers.

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