Cheetahs to be back soon, in MP reserve
The Asian Age By Lalit Shastri
The Madhya Pradesh forest department's wildlife wing, in association with the Wildlife Institute of India, is close to introducing the extinct cheetah at Palpur Kuno wildlife sanctuary in Sheopur district.
The last Asiatic cheetahs were seen in this part of the world in the middle of the previous century. This species went extinct due to biotic pressure and poaching.
MP's principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) H.S. Pabla told this newspaper on Thursday that the plan was to introduce six to 10 cheetahs in the Palpur Kuno sanctuary early in 2012.
It was part of a central government project to reintroduce the extinct cheetah in India, adding that all clearances had been obtained and Palpur Kuno was selected as the ideal habitat for the cheetah to be imported from Africa.
Dr Pabla said cheetahs would be brought from either Namibia or South Africa, or both. The state wildlife wing was collaborating in the transcontinental cheetah relocation exercise with a Namibian NGO, Cheetah Conservation Fund, and with South Africa and Beyond, a well-known wildlife conservation and ecotourism outfit.
Palpur Kuno has a semi-arid terrain mixed with forest and meadows — a typical extension of the central Indian landscape. The sanctuary gets its name from the Kuno river, a tributary of the Chambal. Palpur Kuno was earlier identified by WII experts as the most promising location to relocate Asiatic lions from Gujarat's Gir sanctuary, but the Narendra Modi government shot down that plan.
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