70 years after last sighting, India to get Namibian Cheetahs by 15 August
- Cheetah will be reintroduced on Indian soil again exactly 70 years after it was last seen in the Indian subcontinent.
- These will be released in the wild in India under an exchange programme being finalised with Namibia.
- Kuno National Park is finalised as the suitable habitat for Cheetahs.
- It means releasing a species in an area where it can survive.
- Large carnivore reintroductions are rapidly being recognised as a technique for conserving vulnerable species and restoring ecological services.
- In India, cheetahs will serve as a flagship species for the conservation of grasslands, which are officially designated as wastelands.
About Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)
- It is one of the world’s most-recognizable cats
- Nearly all the cheetahs remaining in the wild live in Africa.
- It is the fastest terrestrial animal on the planet.
- It is categorised as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- In 1947, the country's last spotted feline perished in Chhattisgarh.
- According to the IUCN Red List, the Asiatic cheetah is a "critically endangered" species that is thought to exist solely in Iran.
Kuno National Park
- It is part of Kuno Wildlife Division (Area- 1235 sq. km)
- The south-eastern portion of this area is patchily connected to Panna Tiger Reserve through Madhav National Park– Shivpuri Forest Division.
- Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan State across the River Chambal is connected on the north-western side.
- It is located in Semi-arid biogeographic zone
- Kuno River, one of the major tributaries of Chambal River flows through the entire length bisecting the National Park division.
- This park is known for the leopard, Jackal, Chinkara
Reasons for suitability of Kuno NP for reintroduction of Cheetahs
- It has diverse habitats conducive for lions and cheetahs constituted by open woodlands, Savanna, Dry deciduous forests, Evergreen riverine forests.
- Forest grass species are common in valley habitats while plateau tops had shorter grasses.