Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): With cheetahs declared extinct on Indian soil in 1952 the country’s long wait of seven decades to see cheetahs again is expected to end on Saturday morning when as many as 8 cheetahs arrive at Kuno Palpur National Park in Sheopur district from Namibia, as per officials.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is having his birthday on Saturday will release three cheetahs into the national park’s quarantine enclosures at 10.30 am- two male cheetahs in the first enclosure and a female cheetah in second enclosure, as per the state government’s official release on Friday.
Thus, on Saturday morning Madhya Pradesh will witness the world’s first intercontinental cheetah translocation project being launched by the PM in India to restore the large wild carnivores here.
Incidentally, it’s in central India where the last three cheetahs of India were spotted and killed in 1948 in Korea, presently in Chhattisgarh.
Governor Madhya Pradesh Mangubhai Patel, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Faggan Singh Kulaste and state BJP chief VD Sharma among others will welcome the PM and be witness to the historic moments of release of cheetahs.
As per officials, there is a slight change in the plan of landing destination of the special cargo plane carrying these felines. It will now land at Gwalior instead of Jaipur in Rajasthan from where the cheetahs will be carried in a special helicopter to the Kuno National Park (KNP).
Principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) wildlife, JS Chauhan, said, "The cheetahs will arrive in Gwalior and from there they will be flown in a special helicopter to the KNP."
The eight cheetahs - five females and three males will be brought from Namibia's capital Windhoek to Gwalior airport in a customised Boeing 747-400 aircraft, officials said earlier.
According to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), an international not-for-profit organisation headquartered in Namibia and dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild, the five female cheetahs are aged between two and five years and the male cheetahs are aged between 4.5 years and 5.5 years.
The PM will later address a conference of women self-help groups at Model School Ground, Karahal in Sheopur district at 12 noon.
He will also e-dedicate the Special Backward Tribes Group Skill Development Training Centers at Shivpuri, Mandla, Shahdol and Tamia.