The five female and seven male cheetahs will be transferred from the Gwalior air base, where they will land Saturday morning, to Kuno National Park in an MI 17 helicopter
Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav Thursday announced that 12 more cheetahs would be flown in from South Africa on Saturday (February 18) and that ten quarantine enclosures have been created for them at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, where eight such felines were brought from Namibia last year.
A military C 17 aircraft left the Hindon air base in Uttar Pradesh at 6 am Wednesday for South Africa to pick up the cheetahs. A team of South African and Indian veterinarians and wildlife experts will accompany them on the way back.
The five female and seven male cheetahs will then be transferred from the Gwalior air base, where they will land Saturday morning, to Kuno National Park in an MI 17 helicopter.
An MoU was signed between India and South Africa in January this year for the translocation of the 12 cheetahs and subsequent translocations of 10-12 cheetahs annually until a sustainable cheetah population is established in India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the first batch of eight cheetahs at Kuno National Park on September 17, 2022. They have completed their quarantine period in bomas (quarantine enclosures for animals) and have been released into a wider 6-sq km enclosure in which they have been hunting prey every three-four days – a promising sign that they are adapting to India, said ministry officials Wednesday.
Officials added that an additional ten enclosures of 50×30 metres had been built at the park to accommodate the cheetahs.
Three of the South African cheetahs are coming from Phinda Wildlife Reserve, while the other nine are from Rooiberg, where they had been kept in quarantine for the last year in anticipation of the move. These cheetahs range from 18 months to four years of age.