Wait for cheetah to get longer
- An expert team of wildlife officials from Madhya Pradesh, the Indian Forest Department and the Wildlife Institute of India that visited Namibia for a site visit last week is reportedly “satisfied”, but a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the transfer is yet to be signed.
- The whole process of translocation can take months. The timeline is still to be determined.
Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India
- The Union Minister for Environment, Forests, and Climate Change recently announced the launch of the 'Action Plan for Cheetah Introduction in India,' under which 50 of these large cats would be brought over the next five years.
- The action plan states that a cohort of 10-12 young cheetahs that are ideal for reintroduction would be imported from Namibia or South Africa as a founder stock during the first year.
- The animals’ lineage and genetic history will be examined to ensure that they are not from an excessively inbred stock and are in the ideal age group, so that they make up a suitable founding population.
- The proposed site for introduction is the Kuno Palpur National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh, though at least three other reserves in Central India are being considered.
- According to the plan, the Central government, along with the Environment Ministry and the Cheetah Task Force, will create a formal framework to collaborate with governments of Namibia and/or South Africa, through the Ministry of External Affairs.
- The Kuno National Park was also supposed to be a site for the Asiatic Lion that is now confined to Gir. However, the Gujarat government, as well as the Centre, for more than a decade, has been dragging its feet on sending the lions to this habitat.
- The cheetah is one of the most oldest big cat species, with ancestors dating back over five million years to the Miocene epoch.
- The cheetah, which lives in Africa and Asia, is also the world's fastest land mammal.
- IUCN Status: Vulnerable
- CITES Status: Appendix - I
- Distribution: Around 6,500-7,000 African cheetahs present in the wild.
- Physical Characteristics: Bigger in size as compared to Asiatic Cheetah.
- IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
- CITES Status: Appendix - I
- Distribution: 40-50 found only in Iran.
- Physical Characteristics: Smaller and paler than the African cheetah. Has more fur, a smaller head and a longer neck. Usually have red eyes and they have a more cat-like appearance
About National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is a government-run organisation that reports to the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change.
- It was founded in 2005 as a result of the recommendation of Tiger Task Force.
- It was established to improve tiger conservation under the enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, and to carry out the authorities and tasks delegated to it.