Eight cheetahs arrive in India, PM to release them in Kuno National Park

Eight cheetahs arrive in India, PM to release them in Kuno National Park

The introduction of the fastest land animal in India is being done under Project Cheetah

A special cargo Boeing 747 chartered flight carrying eight cheetahs (five females and three males) from Namibia landed at the Indian Air Force Station in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh on Saturday. The felines will be released in special enclosures in the state's Kuno National Park (KNP) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi later today, officials said. Today also happens to be PM Modi's birthday.

He will arrive at the Gwalior airport from New Delhi at around 9:20 am and leave for Kuno National Park (KNP) in Sheopur district.

Three of the cheetahs will be released in quarantine enclosures of the park at around 10:45 am today by the Prime Minister, they said. The flight carrying eight cheetahs and crew left Windhoek, the capital of Namibia in Africa, at around 8:30 pm (Indian time).

Eight cheetahs arrive in India, PM to release them in Kuno National Park
No human settlements, thriving prey base: Why Kuno was picked as home for African cheetahs

After completing necessary formalities, including paperwork, at Gwalior the cheetahs will be flown to Palpur village, some 165 km away, in Sheopur district in two helicopters, a Chinook and a Mi category chopper, he said. From Palpur, the felines will be brought to Kuno National Park (KNP) in Sheopur district by road, Chauhan said.

The release of wild cheetahs is part of PM's efforts to revitalise and diversify India's wildlife and its habitat, said a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Thursday.

The introduction of the fastest land animal in India is being done under Project Cheetah, which is world's first inter-continental large wild carnivore translocation project, the statement said.

Cheetahs will help in the restoration of open forest and grassland ecosystems in India. This will help conserve biodiversity and enhance ecosystem services like water security, carbon sequestration and soil moisture conservation, benefiting the society at large, it said.

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