Cheetahs in India

A Mughal painting showing cheetahs hunting leopards

A Mughal painting showing cheetahs hunting leopards. The cheetah is believed to have been extinct in India since the late 1940s. Now there is a plan to reintroduce the animal.

Cheetah will run again in India

The cheetah, which became extinct in India through hunting nearly a century ago, will run again in the country, as three sites are earmarked for its reintroduction.

The government has approved wildlife groups’ recommendations of two sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh and an area in Rajasthan as potential homes.

The plan is to import the cats from Africa, Iran and the Middle East.

Kuno Palpur and Nauradehi wildlife sanctuaries in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and Shahgarh area in Jaisalmer, in the northern state of Rajasthan, have been selected as the sites to house the animals.

Reintroducing cheetahs in India has symbolic value. The first cheetahs to be bred in captivity were in India during Mughal rule. See also history of Cheetahs in India.

Tigers are down to 1,400from 40,000 in 1900 and some experts believe the plan is a waste of resources. “”The meagre resources available should be spent on the protection of severely threatened wildlife,” says Ranjit Talwar, formerly with the tiger conservation cell of the World Wildlife Fund-India (WWF-India).”

But there are other reason behind the reintroduction ” M K Ranjitsinh, chairman of the Wildlife Trust of India, says “Conservation of grasslands, the cheetah’s habitat, is the main objective behind reintroducing the cat…Grasslands have been over-exploited in India, either for agriculture or grazing, resulting in severe degradation,…This would also help in the conservation of other endangered grassland fauna like the Great Indian Bustard.”

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