India witnesses first cheetah births in reintroduction program

New Delhi, Mar 29 (EFE).- India on Wednesday announced the birth of four cheetah cubs in the Kuno National Park, the first to take place as part of a program to reintroduce the animal in the country, over seven decades after the Asiatic cheetah became extinct in the country.

“A momentous event in our wildlife conservation history! (…) I am delighted to share that four cubs have been born to one of the cheetahs translocated to India on 17th September 2022,” Indian minister of environment Bhupender Yadav tweeted.

The mother of these cubs had arrived in India in September along with seven other cheetahs as part of an ambitious project to reintroduce the world’s fastest land animal in the country.

The Project Cheetah aims to release 50 of these animals – sourced from South Africa, Namibia and Botswana – in different parts of the country over the next five years, with 20 of the animals already having arrived in the country.

Although the felines will eventually be released across India, the first few specimens are being introduced into the Kuno National Park, situated in central India and spread over 748 square kilometers.

The protected forest was chosen for the project due to its low human presence, abundance of water, and a large number of herbivorous species.

The birth of the first cheetah cubs is an important boost for the authorities as earlier this week the project had witnessed its first death, with one of the reintroduced female cheetahs dying of a renal ailment that she had carried even before arriving in India.

The Asiatic cheetah was declared extinct in India in 1952 due to poaching and natural habitat destruction.

Experts have proposed the reintroduction of the African species instead of the Asiatic, which only survives in Iran and is extremely endangered, with less than 20 animals sighted in recent years. EFE


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