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    India Draws Up Action Plan for Introducing New Cheetahs

    EnvironmentAnimals and wildlifeIndia Draws Up Action Plan for Introducing New Cheetahs
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    India Draws Up Action Plan for Introducing New Cheetahs

    The project will establish breeding cheetah populations in safe habitats across its historical range and manage them as a metapopulation, according to the action plan drawn up to implement a Memorandum of Understanding signed between India, Namibia and South Africa.

    India’s plans to restore the only large carnivore, the Cheetah, that has become extinct in independent India rest on establishing a viable cheetah meta-population in the country. Being implemented by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, this translocation project will allow the cheetah to perform its functional role as a top predator and provide space for the expansion of the cheetah within its historical range thereby contributing to its global conservation efforts.

    Eight to 10 cheetahs will be brought to India from Namibia and South Africa and will be introduced in the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh under the terms of a MoU between India and Namibia on wildlife conservation and sustainable biodiversity utilization – especially for obtaining and establishing the cheetah into the historical range in India.

    The MoU entails sourcing and flying into India a population of eight to 10 cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa to be introduced at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park.

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    The project will work to establish breeding cheetah populations in safe habitats across its historical range and manage them as a metapopulation, according to the action plan drawn up to implement the MoU. This will be accompanied with using the cheetah as a charismatic flagship and umbrella species to garner resources for restoring open forest and savanna systems that will benefit biodiversity and ecosystem services from these ecosystems.

    Larger Environmental Goals

    On the larger environmental goals, the project will work to enhance India’s capacity to sequester carbon through ecosystem restoration activities in cheetah conservation areas and thereby contribute towards the global climate change mitigation goals.

    An important objective of the project is to manage any conflict by cheetah or other wildlife with local communities within cheetah conservation areas expediently through compensation, awareness, and management actions to win community support.

    This will also be accompanied with eco-development and eco-tourism to enhance local community livelihoods.

    The introduction of the cheetah is not only a species recovery program but an effort to restore ecosystems with a lost element that has played a significant role in their evolutionary history, allow ecosystems to provide services to their full potential, and use the cheetah as an umbrella species for conserving the biodiversity of grasslands, savanna and open forest systems.

    For the success of the conservation introductions, the National Tiger Conservation Authority is working to blend the best of science, technology, sociological aspects and commitment of financial resources. The action plan is made in consonance with modern scientific approaches recommended by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines for reintroduction and other conservation translocations.

    The four-year project is being funded by Indian Oil as part of its CSR initiatives and entails introducing the cheetah; the management of its habitat and it protection; eco-development; and, staff training and veterinary healthcare.

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