THE COVID EFFECT: Cheetah translocation to Madhya Pradesh delayed

BHOPAL: The wait for reintroduction of the fastest animal on earth in Madhya Pradesh could get a little longer due to the corona pandemic. The expert team from Africa that was expected in Madhya Pradesh has postponed its visit due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases here.

The translocation process of the African cheetah to the Kuno and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuaries, which was almost complete and was expected by the end of this year, may take some more time. A team from Africa was scheduled to visit these wildlife sanctuaries in the coming months.

The final dates for the translocation of cheetahs and other modalities were to be worked out and announced after their visit. But now, the visit has been postponed in view of the spike in the number of corona cases in India.

Preparing a proper prey base

  • The forest department had prepared the Palpur Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary according to the needs of the African cheetahs

  • The grassland has been changed and the plantation that was not suitable has been cut

  • The tall breed of grass has been replaced by another shorter grass species ideally suited for the cheetahs

  • The grassland was changed to prepare a proper prey base for the cheetahs

  • Wildlife expert MK Ranjit Singh had prepared a plan for the reintroduction of the African cheetahs in India that included places in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan

  • The project was made in 2010

The authorities in Africa see the current situation in India as a second wave of corona pandemic, as a result of which the visit has been cancelled. When asked about the tentative dates for the visit of the African team, senior officials of the forest department said that they had not been decided as of now.

Earlier, a team of Indian wildlife experts that had visited Kuno had recommended that Kuno sanctuary was all prepared as a good habitat for the African wild cats. After this development, the forest officials had anticipated that the translocation process would start by the month of November. Earlier, forest minister Vijay Shah had said that special security arrangements would be made for the African cheetahs in Kuno. The forest staff posted in Kuno would be armed with the latest weapons, and a unit of the Special Armed Forces (SAF) would also be deployed there.

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