Hope dawns for India's adventurous wildlife project, PM Modi names a female cheetah Aasha

`Project Cheetah’ has been Modi’s and his government's endeavour towards environment and wildlife conservation. Modi lamented that no “constructive efforts” were made by the previous governments to revive the population of the world’s fastest animal in India

FP Staff September 18, 2022 13:07:19 IST
Hope dawns for India's adventurous wildlife project, PM Modi names a female cheetah Aasha

Cheetah

Seven decades after they became extinct in India, eight cheetahs from Namibia arrived in India by a special cargo flight on 17 September. Out of the five females, PM Narendra Modi named one of the Aasha, which means Hope.

Aasha is almost four years old. Upon landing in India, the cat was referred to as Frans Indongo after a Namibian businessman who owns a luxury game reserve. The cheetah was captured on his property. Because she is a wild cat, she was not named when she came to the Cheetah Conservation Fund. CCF reserved this honor for PM Modi, to give him a birthday present from Namibia.

Stating that `Project Cheetah’ was his government’s endeavour towards environment and wildlife conservation, Modi, who turned 72 on 17 September, lamented that no “constructive efforts” were made by the previous governments to revive the population of the world’s fastest animal in India.

Eight cheetahs, flown from Namibia, on 17 September, were released by PM Modi, marking the return of the once extinct Cheetah back in India.

There are three males, named Freddie, Elton, Oban and the rest of the five are females named Siyaya, Aasha, Tbilisi, Sasha and Savannah.

After releasing cheetahs in special enclosures at the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told ‘cheetah mitras’ (friends) to protect the carnivores and ensure that human-animal conflict is avoided.

During his interaction, the prime minister told them not to allow anyone inside the KNP, including himself, until the cheetahs are acclimatized to their new habitat.

The ‘cheetah mitras’ are a group of about 400 youngsters who have been trained to create awareness among the people about the importance of the carnivore.

“You must have been told that cheetahs need time to settle down first in their enclosures and later in the wild. It is your duty to ensure that no one is allowed to enter the park, be they political leaders, breaking news people (media), officials, relatives, and even me,” he said.

Even if I come, refuse entry to me and even to my relatives, PM Modi told them.

A video of the interaction was made available by official sources.

The PM asked them to tell people that entry into the KNP is allowed only after the cheetahs are settled in the wild.

“Probably, it is happening for the first time in the world that 130 crore people are celebrating the arrival of cheetahs for whom they have to wait for 75 years,” the prime minister said.

With inputs from agencies

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