The Indian Air Force’s Mi-17 helicopters transporting the second batch of 12 cheetahs arrived at their destination, Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday. This is the second such relocation, but the first from South Africa. In September 2022, eight big cats were brought from Namibia.
The big cats flew in an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 Globemaster cargo jet.
After a 10-hour flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, the aircraft arrived at Air Force Station Gwalior today.
CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for raising the number of Cheetahs in Kuno National Park.
“In Kuno National Park today, the number of Cheetahs is going to increase. I thank PM Modi from the bottom of my heart, it is his vision. 12 Cheetahs will be rehabilitated to Kuno and the total number will become 20,” CM Chouhan said.
Earlier the Cheetah Project Chief, SP Yadav said, “We are happy to announce that at 8.30 pm (Local South African Time), the 12 cheetahs took off from Johannesburg airport in a C-17 Globemaster aircraft for the Gwalior airport. The cheetahs will land at the Gwalior airport at around 10 am IST on Saturday, February 18”.
The migration of 12 cheetahs from South Africa comes three years after the Narendra Modi government mooted the proposal. India had planned to bring the cheetahs there by mid-2022, but there was a delay in finalising the Memorandum of Understanding.
In September of last year, eight cheetahs from Namibia were brought into India. The cheetahs are being introduced to India as part of the Cheetah Reintroduction Project, which is based on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the governments of South Africa and India.
The Agreement supports conservation and guarantees that expertise is shared and transferred, as well as capacity is established, to enhance cheetah conservation. This involves human-animal conflict resolution, wildlife capture and relocation, and community participation in conservation in both countries.
Also Read: 12 Cheetahs from South Africa to land at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park