On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, marking his 72nd birthday, released eight cheetahs brought from Namibia into Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park (KNP), bringing an end to a long wait of 75 years since India declared the extinction of the big cats in 1952.
During his address to the nation, PM Modi congratulated the citizens on the return of the Namibian cheetahs. He said, "Today, the cheetahs have come back to our land after decades. On this historic day, I want to congratulate all Indians and also thank the government of Namibia. This could not have been possible without their help."
Speaking about the extinction of cheetahs in our country, the Indian leader added, "Decades ago, the age-old link of biodiversity was broken and had become extinct, today we have a chance to reconnect it. Along with these cheetahs, the nature-loving consciousness of India has also awakened with full force."
"It is unfortunate that we declared cheetahs extinct from the country in 1952, however, for decades, no meaningful effort was made to rehabilitate them. Today, as we celebrate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the country has started rehabilitating Cheetahs with a new energy," he said.
The Indian Premier said that the cheetahs have come as guests to our nation and we need to give them time to adapt to the new environment. He also assured that India will do its best to help them settle in our country.
"People will have to show patience and wait for a few months to see these cheetahs in Kuno National Park. These cheetahs have come as guests, unaware of this area. For them to be able to make Kuno National Park their home, we'll have to give these Cheetahs a few months' time," the 72-year-old leader asserted.
"Nature and environment, animals and birds, for India is not just about sustainability & security. For us, it is also the basis of our sensibility and spirituality. Today, India of the 21st century is giving a message to the world that economy and ecology are not conflicting fields. Following international guidelines, India is trying its best to settle these cheetahs. We must not let our efforts fail."
The Kuno Palpur National Park is situated in Sheopur district in Madhya Pradesh, more than 400 kilometers north of the state capital, Bhopal.
To witness the historic moments at KNP, there was Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Mangubhai Patel, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union Ministers-Narendra Singh Tomar and Jyotiraditya Scindia, several ministers of the state cabinet, officials of the state and the central government and others.