Not many of us are aware that Cheetahs went extinct in Indian in 1952. Yes, we lost the fastest member of the big cat family at least 70 years ago.
According to the BBC there were 10,000 cheetahs during the period of Emperor Akbar, including 1,000 of them in his court. It is the only large mammal to become extinct since Independence.
If you are wondering what made these large mammals go extinct in India, the reasons were hunting, diminishing habitat and non-availability of enough prey like blackbuck, gazelle and hare.
Also, a large number of Cheetahs were eliminated during the British rule, as the big cats were entering villages and killing livestock.
Now, the Indian Government has taken the initiative to reintroduce 50 Cheetahs in the next 5 years. The Centre launched an action plan regarding this on Wednesday.
As a first step, around 10-12 young cheetahs that are ideal for reintroduction would be brought from either Namibia or South Africa during the first year, according to the action plan.
“An existing coalition of wild males shall be selected while the selected females shall also be known to each other as far as possible. The animals’ lineage and condition shall be checked in the host country to ensure that they are not from an excessively inbred stock and are in the ideal age group, so as to conform to the needs of a founding population,” said the over 300-page action plan.
“Among the 10 surveyed sites in five central Indian states, Kuno Palpur National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh was rated high on the priority list for the introduction of cheetahS because of its suitable habitat and adequate prey base,” NDTV reported.