IAF’s aircraft departs to bring 12 cheetahs from S Africa, 10 quarantine enclosures created at Kuno
The C-17 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) left India this morning to bring the 12 cheetahs from South Africa, said a National Tiger Conservation Authority official on Thursday. The cheetahs will arrive on February 18.
Environment minister Bhupendra Yadav said that as many as 10 quarantine enclosures have been created at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park for 12 cheetahs being flown in from South Africa.
After months of delay, 12 cheetahs from South Africa will finally arrive on February 18 in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park (KNP), where eight such spotted cats were brought from Namibia last year.
"12 cheetahs will be flown in from South Africa on February 18. The present cheetahs are in a healthy condition and we are taking good care of them. I have also called a meeting today in this regard," said MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
These big cats – seven males and five females – will embark on a journey to their new home thousands of miles away aboard an Indian Air Force (IAF) transport aircraft from the OR Tambo International Airport, Gauteng, South Africa on Friday evening, a project participant and expert told PTI.
The expert added that the cheetahs will first arrive at the Gwalior Air Force base in MP on Saturday morning and 30 minutes later, they will be transported some 165 km away to KNP in Sheopur district by IAF helicopters.
India and South Africa had in January signed an MoU to transport cheetahs from the African country and reintroduce them in Kuno. A majority of the world's 7,000 cheetahs live in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. Namibia has the world's largest population of cheetahs.