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"Project Cheetah" in India| Cheetah reintroduction in India | Objectives, Challenges, and way forward | | Bio-diversity-Environment ( General Studies-III UPSC)


What are the challenges of "Project Cheetah" in India? How can we ensure the long-term survival of Asiatic Cheetahs in the country?

Topic: Bio-diversity-Environment ( General Studies-III UPSC)


About Cheetah and Project Cheetah:

Cheetah is the only major carnivore animal that went extinct in India in the year 1952 due to hunting and habitat loss. The government of India was planning to bring Cheetahs from Africa to India since 2009. However, "Project Cheetah" was launched in January 2022 by environment minister Bhupender Yadav, with the aim to reintroduce Cheetahs in Kuno National Park. 

After several levels of negotiation between the government of India and the government of South Africa and Namibia, A total of 20 ( twenty) Cheetahs are relocated from Africa to India's Kuno National Park. Out of twenty (20), Twelve (12) cheetahs are brought from South Africa on 18th February 2023, and are rest eight(8) were brought from Namibia in September 2022.


The objective of Project Cheetah:

Project Cheetah's aim is to establish a sustainable population of about 35 cheetahs in the next decades by bringing a few cheetahs from Africa every year and from the natural growth of the Cheetah population.

Present Status of Project Cheetah ( 12-05-2023):

Two out of twelve cheetahs in South Africa have died within three months after bringing them to Kuno National Park. Daksha [female Cheetah] died due to violent mating attempts by two males.

One out of eight cheetahs from Namibia has died due to pre-existing renal infection.

Challenges of Project Cheetah: 

There are challenges for African Cheetahs in adapting to the Indian climate.

Predator behaviors of Cheetah may harm themself by mating with others. 

Many environmentalists had raised concerns about the inadequate physical habitat of Kuno National Park to host 20 Cheetahs. In Namibia and South Africa, Cheetahs live in a stable socio-spatial system with widely spread territories, and the density of Cheetahs is less than one individual per 100 square km. However, the area of Kuno National Park is only 750 square km, so there is not sufficient space of hosting 20 cheetahs in the Kuno National Park. 

Way forward to ensure the long-term survival of Cheetahs:

  • Long-term sustainable efforts are needed for the conservation of what we did to increase the tiger of the lion population in India, the same need to apply to the conservation of Cheetahs.
  • Indian experts should have regular contact with an expert from South Africa and Namibia regarding changing behaviors of Cheetahs in Kuno National Park.
  • Local people near Kuno National Park should be incentivized and should include in the conservation of Asiatic Cheetahs.
  • Some natural habitats other than Kuno National Park should be explored to make the project viable.

In conclusion, every death and every birth are not seen as markers of failure or success, we should make continuous sustainable efforts to make the success of Project Cheetah. 

Source; TH and internet

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