Sheopur (Madhya Pradesh): A cheetah safari is being planned in the Sesaipura area near Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh with some other facilities also on the anvil for those keen to gain more knowledge about the big cats, a senior official has said.
In an exclusive Interview with ANI, Project Cheetah head SP Yadav said that process is on for land acquisition for the project.
He said that the cheetah safari will benefit tourists and provide employment opportunities to the youth.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi released wild cheetahs, which had become extinct in India, in Kuno National Park, on September 17 last year. The day, which is also PM Modi's birthday, will mark one year of reintroduction of the big cats in the country. Environment Ministry is organising various programmes at Saisaipura related to Project Cheetah.
"We are planning to establish a cheetah safari. There is also proposal to create an interpretation centre, a well-equipped library and a research. There is also a proposal for skill upgradation centre and work is being done in this direction," Yadav told ANI "Cheetah safari will be attraction for tourists and create employment opportunities to locals. Preparations are underway. Process of acquiring 150-180 hectare land is on and on this basis a master layout plan is being prepared," he added.
Yadav, who is also member secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), said Cheetah Safari will require approval from the Central Zoo authority.
"Cheetah Safari will be a huge attraction with the big cats in their natural habitat and tourists will be able to see the animals sitting in vehicles," he said.
Yadav said there is there is no "interpretation centre" or museum dedicated to cheetahs and such facilities will be created.
"The library will have books and publications related to cheetah," he said.
Cheetahs brought from Namibia and South Africa are being introduced in India under Project Cheetah, world's first inter-continental large wild carnivore translocation project.
The release of wild cheetahs in Kuno National Park is part of efforts to revitalise and diversify India's wildlife and its habitat.
Cheetahs will help restore open forest and grassland ecosystems in India. This will help conserve biodiversity and enhance ecosystem services like water security, carbon sequestration and soil moisture conservation.
This effort, in line with PM Modi's commitment to environmental protection and wildlife conservation, will also lead to enhanced livelihood opportunities for the local community through eco-development and ecotourism activities.
Kuno National Park is situated on the Northern side of Vidhyachal mountains with an area of 344.686 sq km. It was named after a tributary of Chambal River.
The last cheetah died in the country in 1947 in Korea district in present day Chhattisgarh, which was earlier part of Madhya Pradesh, and the species was declared extinct from India in 1952.