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The Cheetahs Are Back in India, 75 years After The Last Ones Were Killed.

| Updated: September 17, 2022 12:46 pm

Global warming is not just an international issue but let us take it individually and make a small change in our lives for a better world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said. In the 21st century, India is emanating a message to the world that ecology, economics and development (vikas) can co-exist, he added, emphasizing that two different issues can be pursued simultaneously, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said. PM released cheetahs, brought from Namibia into the wild at the Kuno National Park. This is the first of its kind of intercontinental translocation project in the world.

PM Modi said his government was determined to do away with all signs of colonialism on the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. The first cheetah was let out in the wild at 11.30 am at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. PM Modi released the cheetah into the wild and then the Prime Minister shot him with his camera fitted with a special zoom lens. PM Modi is celebrating his 72nd birthday today.  Eight cheetahs, five females and three males have landed at Kuno National park in Sheopur district in Madhya Pradesh. The cheetahs will be kept in a 10-kilometre enclosure for the first 30 days for monitoring. 

 He said Project Cheetah will herald international tourism for India. The PM said through the implementation of the right environmental policies and strategies, the population of tigers was going to double before the scheduled deadline. He said similarly, concrete efforts were being made to conserve the one-horn Rhino in Assam and to increase the wetland area in the country.  

It is our priority to protect nature and ecology even as we continue to herald development in the country, he said. 

Taking a jibe at Congress without naming the party, PM Modi said it was sad that the last of the cheetahs were hunted and killed in 1947 but the then government did not do anything concrete to bring back the Cheetahs home. However, Congress was quick to react. Jairam Ramesh, a senior Congress leader dubbed Modi’s actions of Cheetah release as a tamasha. He said it was the Congress-led UPA government that initiated the project of bringing cheetahs back to India. Jairam Ramesh tweeted that he had visited Capetown in 2010 and had begun the process. “it is sad that PM Modi does not want to credit the Congress which got things moving. This is just a tamasha orchestrated by Modi”, he said, stressing that PM Modi does not appreciate the continuity of governance. The BJP said, “Congress has nothing better to do”. B V Srinivas, another Congress leader said, the BJP government which had failed in generating employment or addressing genuine issues was trying to mask their failure by creating events like this Tamasha. The only thing the Modi government is good is at event management.

Jairam Ramesh

PM Modi in his speech mentioned that  Gujarat has emerged as a great spot for environmental and ecological urban space because of the wonderful policies we implemented for decades. 

Dubbing September 17 a historical moment for India, PM Modi released the first cheetah into the wild. The cheetahs have landed, he said. These are African cheetahs. The ones killed in 1947 were Asian Cheetahs. Now, the only surviving Asian cheetahs are in Iran. 

PM Modi thanked the Namibia Government for helping India get them. The last three cheetahs were hunted down. This was unfortunate. It is sad that we declared cheetahs extinct in 1952 but no concrete steps were taken to rehabilitate them or bring them back to India. In this Amrit Kaal, we decided to bring back the merit cheetah back home. This has taken years of effort for us. We have worked and chalked out a Cheetah Plan with experts. We even conducted scientific surveys of various national parks and then decided upon Kuno National Park.

Nature and environmental protection are very important for our progress,  PM Modi said. He said grasslands would now increase in Kuno along with tourism and employment opportunities. He also said people of India will have to wait for a while before they can see these cheetahs. Right now they are our guests. They are not familiar with the locale. Till these cheetahs make Kuno their home, we will have to be patient. We are following international guidelines for their apt rehabilitation. The world is watching us. Today the world talks of sustainable development but for India, nature and the environment is not just an issue of sustainability but sensitivity and spirituality. Quoting a Sanskrit shloka, the Prime Minister said all elements of nature from grass to insects and animals are forms of worship. This is why we also worry about the smallest living life around us. Our sanskaar is such that we offer them food before we eat.

 It became a festival for the residents around Kuno who were excited about two things. One that the cheetahs who are in India, 75 years after the last three were shot dead in 1947 came to India and that too in Madhya Pradesh and second that PM Modi was there on his birthday. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was with PM Modi on a special machan erected for the occasion. They banged drums, sang songs, and shouted slogans of har har Modi and Cheetah Cheetah. The loud music however was no music for the cheetahs who appeared restive as they were let out in the wild. They were also a bit restive because of the long 16 hour flight. After they landed in Jaipur from Namibia in Africa,  they were flown to Kuno national park, Madhyapradesh in helicopters. A special helipad was constructed at Kuno National Park. The cheetahs who arrived appeared restive after a  long flight and a new environment. There were cameras fixed in the cranes which carried the Cheetahs. Unlike the impalas that the cheetahs hunted in Namibia till they came to India, now the cheetahs will have to hunt for Chinkaras. All the cheetahs have been radio-collared. This is to track their movement and especially their health. For one month, several experts will stay put here to study the pilot project on the translocation of the cheetah. It must be noted that the proposed Reliance Zoo in Jamnagar, Gujarat is also going to get 40 cheetahs from Africa. Reliance has already begun this process about 100 days back. The Kuno National Park is spread across 748.8 km of land and was established in 1981. The Park got national status in 2018. The Cheetah translocation initiated today,  is the first of its kind of translocation project in the world.

The cheetah was declared extinct in India in 1952. The cheetahs are from Namibia and have been brought under an MoU signed earlier this year. The re-introduction of cheetahs in India is being done under Project Cheetah, which is the world’s first inter-continental large wild carnivore translocation project.

Cheetahs will help in the restoration of open forest and grassland ecosystems in India.

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This will help conserve biodiversity and enhance ecosystem services like water security, carbon sequestration and soil moisture conservation, benefiting society at large. This effort, in line with the prime minister’s commitment to environmental protection and wildlife conservation, will also lead to enhanced livelihood opportunities for the local community through eco-development and eco-tourism activities

Indira Gandhi began the process of getting Cheetahs back to India in 1970 and failed. PM Modi took over in May 2014 and it was in the destiny of PM Narendra Modi to bring them back to India in 2022. Some historians claim that the name cheetah has its origin in Sanskrit from the word Chitra. However, Vibes of India could not verify these claims.

Amidst the cacophonous celebrations, accompanied by loud noise, drums and dancing by locals, experts warned that they would have to change as such noise and loud behaviour was not advisable. The locals are happy with the forthcoming tourism development in their region which they feel would result in jobs. Most of them work as daily wagers.

The aircraft that brought the cheetahs to India was modified to allow cages to be secured in the main cabin but allowed vets to have full access to the cats during the flight.

The aircraft drew attention because it was painted with the image of a tiger. The aircraft is an ultra-long range jet capable of flying for up to 16 hours. The plane flew directly from Namibia to India without a stop to refuel, an important consideration for the well-being of the cheetahs.

Cheetahs were not given any food as per doctors’ advice while in the air. This precaution was a must to avoid nausea.

Cheetahs originated in Africa and Iran. They are the fastest animals among all cats. They beat the sports car Ferrari when it comes to speed.

After releasing the cheetahs, PM Modi has now left to participate in a self Help Group (SHG) Sammelan with women SHG members/community resource persons at Karahal, Sheopur.

Later in the day, Prime Minister Modi will also be inaugurating four Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) skilling centres under the PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana.

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