Why in the news?
- India will soon release cheetahs from South Africa and Namibia into the wild in Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur district.
- It will kick off India’s ambitious initiative to relocate cheetahs across continents.
- The last spotted cheetah in the country died in Chhattisgarh in 1947, and the species was declared extinct in the country in 1952.
- The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) planned a cheetah reintroduction initiative several years ago.
What Are the Important Facts About Cheetahs?
- The cheetah is one of the oldest big cat species, with ancestors dating back more than five million years to the Miocene epoch.
- The cheetah is also the fastest terrestrial mammal on the planet, living in Africa and Asia.
- Acinonyx Jubatus is the scientific name for the African Cheetah.
- They have somewhat brownish and golden skin that is thicker than that of Asiatic Cheetahs.
- They have far more noticeable spots and lines on their faces than their Asian cousins.
Found in thousands across the African continent.
- Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
- Appendix 1 of CITES.
- WPA Schedule No. 2
Acinonyx Jubatus Venaticus is the scientific name for the Asiatic Cheetah.
A little smaller than African Cheetahs.
They have pale yellowish fawn skin and thicker fur under their body, particularly on the belly.
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- Only found in Iran, with fewer than 100 individuals remaining.
- IUCN Red List status: critically endangered.
- Appendix 1 of CITES.
- Schedule-2 of the WPA
What are the dangers?
- Human-wildlife conflict, habitat loss and prey decline, and illegal trafficking
- Deforestation and cultivation reduced forest land and cheetah habitat.
- Climate change and rising human populations have only exacerbated these issues.
What are the Native American Conservation Efforts?
- Seven years ago, the Wildlife Institute of India devised a Rs 260-crore cheetah reintroduction scheme.
- This could be the first intercontinental cheetah translocation project in history.
- The Ministry of Environment announced a “Action Plan for Cheetah Introduction in India” during the 19th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has agreed to import 50 African Cheetahs from Namibia during the next five years.
What are the main attractions of Kuno National Park?
- Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh is a one-of-a-kind destination for all wildlife aficionados.
- It boasts a healthy chital, sambar, nilgai, wild pig, chinkara, and cow population.
- The leopard and striped hyena are currently the only larger carnivores within the National Park, with the lone tiger having returned earlier this year.