Mon. Mar 27th, 2023

Twelve cheetahs from South Africa have been flown to India as part of an agreement to introduce dozens of the mammals there over the next decade.

Asiatic cheetahs became extinct in India in the late 1940s because of excessive hunting and loss of habitat.

In 2020 India’s Supreme Court ruled that African cheetahs, a different subspecies, could be brought into the country at a “carefully chosen location” on an experimental basis.

The Indian Air Force has tweeted pictures of the boxed animals arriving “after a 10-hour flight from Johannesburg”.

They were then flown by helicopter to Kuno National Park.

These big cats will join eight received from Namibia last year.

Earlier this week, Uttam Sharma, director of Kuno National Park, said the big cats will be placed in quarantine enclosures upon their arrival.

The 12 cheetahs have been living in quarantine in South Africa since July.

Wildlife experts have raised concerns about the long quarantine periods the cheetahs are being subjected to, and say that it could harm their health and fitness.

However, Mr Sharma said that all preparations to receive the big cats “had been completed”.

Proponents of the project say that the reintroduction of cheetahs will build up local economies and help restore ecosystems that support the big cats.

But some worry that relocation of animals is always fraught with risks and releasing the cheetahs into a park might put them in harm’s way.

By Joy

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