PM Modi added that though India declared cheetahs extinct in 1952, it is unfortunate that no constructive efforts were made to reintroduce them for decades. Eight cheetahs had landed in Gwalior from Namibia’s capital Windhoek at around 8 am on September 17, which was also PM Modi’s 72nd birthday. Referring to the cheetahs as ‘India’s guests’, he said that India will try its best to follow international guidelines in nurturing them. He thanked the government of Namibia for its assistance in the project. A group of eight cats arrived from Namibia on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday on 17th September. They will undergo a month-long quarantine before being released in a national park in central India. They formerly shared jungles with other big cats like lions and tigers but disappeared 70 years ago. At least 20 cheetahs are coming to India from South Africa and Namibia, home to more than a third of the world’s 7,000 cheetahs.
The first batch of eight – five females and three males, aged between two and six years – arrived from Windhoek in Namibia to the Indian city of Gwalior on September 17. Spread over a 289-square-mile area, the Kuno National Park is a sprawling sanctuary with prey like antelope and wild boars for the wild cats. An electrified enclosure, with 10 compartments ranging in size, has been built for the animals to quarantine before being released in the wild. Each cheetah will be given a dedicated team of volunteers, which will monitor it and keep tabs on the animal’s movement. Satellite radio collars have been put on each cheetah for their geolocation updates. Experts say that a combination of hunting, habitat loss and food scarcity had led to the cheetah’s disappearance in India. Studies show that at least 200 cheetahs were killed in India, largely by sheep and goat herders, during the colonial period.