MP's Kuno National Park has adequate space, prey base to house 20 to 25 cheetahs, says forest officer

The cheetahs, the fastest land animal, have been brought to the park as part of an intercontinental translocation project to reintroduce the feline in India seven decades after it was declared extinct in the country

Press Trust of India September 18, 2022 09:35:02 IST
MP's Kuno National Park has adequate space, prey base to house 20 to 25 cheetahs, says forest officer

Cheetah imported from Namibia at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh after being released by PM Narendra Modi on 17 September 2022. Image courtesy: ANI

Bhopal:  Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park, the new home of African cheetahs in India, has enough space and an adequate prey base to house 20 to 25 such big cats, an official has said, as the little-known wildlife sanctuary basked in its new-found global fame.

On 17 September, eight cheetahs airlifted from Namibia ­- five females and three males – were released in the Kuno National Park (KNP) with much fanfare, putting the sanctuary in the Sheopur district firmly on the world map.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself released three of these felines into a special enclosure in the park by operating a lever of the cages in which they were transported from the African country.

The cheetahs, the fastest land animal, have been brought to the park as part of an intercontinental translocation project to reintroduce the feline in India seven decades after it was declared extinct in the country.

Madhya Pradesh Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) JS Chauhan, closely associated with the cheetah reintroduction programme, expressed confidence that the translocation plan would be a great success.

He said Madhya Pradesh has perfected the art of wildlife conservation and revival of animal species, citing the example of the Panna Tiger Reserve.

He said in 2009, the reserve was completely devoid of the big striped cats, but later it successfully implemented a tiger reintroduction programme and revived their population.

The eight African cheetahs will be in giant quarantine enclosures in KNP for almost a month and later they will be housed in acclimatization zones for two to four months before being released into the wild.

“After getting the first lot of cheetahs from Namibia, India was looking forward to importing 12 more spotted mammals from South Africa after signing an MoU with that country”, officials said.

“KNP is spread over an area of 750 sq km and has sufficient space to accommodate 20 to 25 cheetahs”, Chauhan told

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