Currently, the only surviving Cheetahs in the country live in the zoos.
For the reintroduction of the species, the African variety of the cat would be introduced. (File image: IE)
Cheetah in India: India to get Cheetah again! On the occasion of World Wildlife Day on Wednesday, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said that the Centre was working on reintroducing the Cheetahs to India so that the country can again be home to the big cats. Cheetah went extinct in India in 1952 due to excessive hunting, trafficking as well as the reduction of the forest cover. The extinction of the mighty cat has always been a sore spot for India, which at one point used to pride itself on its population of Asiatic Cheetah.
Currently, the only surviving Cheetahs in the country live in the zoos. For the reintroduction of the species, the African variety of the cat would be introduced. The work on the reintroduction began last year after the Supreme Court gave the Centre its go-ahead for the project, based on the application filed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The decision was taken keeping in mind the depleting population of the wild creature.
Last year, the apex court had instructed that the Centre must carry out proper survey for the project, leaving the action of the introduction of the wild cats into the wildlife of India to the NTCA. The SC had been informed that India would bring in the Cheetah on an experimental basis in the best suitable habitat in India, after which it would determine whether it would be feasible to introduce them. However, now, the tweet by the Union Minister indicates that the work on the reintroduction is going well and in the intended direction.
Earlier in January, reports had informed that three sites in Madhya Pradesh and one in Rajasthan had been identified by a panel appointed by the SC to guide the NTCA for the reintroduction of the majestic cat.
In his tweet, Javadekar also gave a few statistics regarding other varieties of wild cats in India, saying the country currently has 70% each of the global tiger population as well as that of the Asiatic Lions. Moreover, 60% of the global leopard population is also found in India, he wrote.