12 South African Cheetas to Land in India on Saturday; KNP Ready to Welcome Them

BHOPAL: As per inputs given from officials in the know, 12 cheetahs from South Africa will finally arrive on February 18 in MPs Kuno National Park. The new guest would join the 8 spotted cats that were brought from Namibia last year.

The 12 spotted cats which will include 7 males and 5 females will depart to India on an IAF transport aircraft from OR Tambo International Airport Gauteng South Africa on Friday evening. According to the details given by officials involved in the process, the cheetahs will land at Gwalior Airbase on Saturday and will later be transported by IAF helicopters to KNP in Sheopur district. They would finally enter their enclosure at around 12:30 pm, half an hour after their arrival at the park.

As many as 10 quarantine bomas have been created for the new guests said KNP Director Uttam Sharma. In each boma- two pairs of Cheetah, brothers would be kept- he added.

The approval to transport another batch of the world’s fastest animal came after a slew of experts from SA in early September visited the wildlife sanctuary to see the arrangements. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and South Africa last month for the translocation of the mammals.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his 72nd birthday on September 17, had released eight cheetahs flown in from Namibia into KNP amid a lot of fanfare, setting the ball rolling for the revival of their population in India where these distinctively spotted cat species became extinct seven decades ago.

Five females and three males – are currently in hunting enclosures at the park before their full release into the wild.

The last cheetah died in India in the Koriya district of present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947 and the species was declared extinct in 1952.

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