India's extinct cheetahs are welcomed back after 70 years.
Cheetah

NEW DELHI - When a king in central India shot and killed three cheetahs in 1947, he killed what he believed to be the last of the creatures in the country, and five years later they were declared extinct in India.

On Friday, eight wild cats, one of the world's fastest animals, were flown from Namibia in Africa to India in an attempt to reintroduce them to the country.

Authorities say the project is the world's first intercontinental relocation of cheetahs on Earth.Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Kuno National Park, a wildlife sanctuary 320 km south of New Delhi, was chosen for its abundant prey and pastures.

  • “Today the cheetah has returned to the soil of India,” 

Modi said in a video address after their arrival, which coincided with the leader’s 72nd birthday.

  • “The nature-loving consciousness of India has also awakened with full force. We must not allow our efforts to fail.”

Habitat loss and hunting.

With the exception of Iran, most of the cheetah species that have become extinct throughout Asia reside in Africa. They are disappearing in large numbers due to hunting, habitat shrinkage and loss of prey.

Cheetahs are almost extinct in India due to habitat loss and poaching for their skins to make distinctive coats.

“Habitat destruction used to happen, yes. But once national parks were declared, I don’t believe there is any habitat destruction within our protected forests,” Bin Jung said.

Controversy.

Some Indian scientists say modern India presents challenges not faced by the animals in the past.

A single cheetah needs a lot of space to roam.

Once cheetahs go outside the unfenced boundary, they are exposed to attacks by domestic dogs and leopards within 6 months.



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