Kuno National Park to get 13 cheetahs next year

The Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh is set to get 13 cheetahs in 2022.

Key Points

  • The Kuno National Park was originally developed as the second home for Asiatic lions in India, apart from Gir National Park. However, that project did not take off.
  • But now the park is expecting to get 13 African cheetahs, which is being described as the largest intercontinental animal translocation in the world.
  • Of all, 13 cheetahs have been carefully selected. 10 are from South Africa while 3 are from Namibia.

Significance of the project

The project is crucial in India. It would mean the introduction of fastest animal on Earth into the wild, after 69 years of last surviving cheetah was recorded to have been hunted down in 1952 in Chhattisgarh.

Challenges of the project

There are challenges too in the project, as fence which is being created would prevent the entry of the African Cheetahs.

When was Kuno selected?

Supreme Court expert committee had selected Kuno National Park as the habitat for African cheetah in January 2021. The expert committee was constituted by the court for implementing the Cheetah Translocation Project. Kuno was preferred over Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh and Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan.

IUCN Status of Cheetah

As per United Nations, Cheetahs have been listed as “Vulnerable” in the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, recent study revealed the decline in its population. Hence, demand is there for cheetahs to be listed to “Endangered category”. In North Africa and Asia, cheetahs are considered as “Critically Endangered.”

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