Cheetahs, extinct in India for 7 decades, to be introduced in tiger parks

AFP file photo

Seven decades after cheetahs became extinct in India, the government has decided to introduce 50 of these big cats in various tiger parks across the country over the next five years.

The decision to bring back cheetahs was taken at the 19th meeting of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) held in New Delhi yesterday under the chairmanship of Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

Yadav told the meeting that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is keen on protection and conservation of seven big cats. The plan to bring cheetahs back could not be implemented last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As per a new action plan adopted at yesterday's meeting, nearly a dozen young male and female cheetahs would be imported from either Namibia or South Africa and lodged in reserve forests for tigers so that more of these animals can be bred there, said an official.

Yadav said since tigers continued to be an endangered species, the situation calls for adopting as well as active management.

The minister said India has a total of 51 tiger reserves and efforts are being made to bring more areas under tiger reserve network.