India and South Africa (SA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to translocate more than 100 cheetahs to India over the next decade, said the SA government on January 26, 2023, in a press release.
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment release said that 12 big cats may arrive in India sometime in February. The plan is to translocate 12 cheetahs every year for the next eight to 10 years to establish a healthy and genetically diverse cheetah population in India.
The terms of the MoU on Cooperation in the Re-introduction of Cheetah to India will be reviewed every five years. For India, restoring cheetah populations is considered to be a priority. It will have crucial and far-reaching conservation consequences, which would aim to achieve a number of ecological objectives, such as re-establishing the functional role of cheetahs within their historical range in India and improving the livelihood options and economies of the local communities, the release said.
Under the MoU, the two countries will collaborate and exchange best practices in large carnivore conservation through the transfer of technology, training of professionals in management, policy, and science, and establish a bilateral custodianship arrangement for cheetah translocated between the two countries.