Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday released eight cheetahs that were brought to the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh from Namibia, ANI reported.

Earlier in the day, the cheetahs were brought to the national park in the Sheopur district. The feline species has been reintroduced in India seven decades after it was declared extinct in the country.

The cheetahs were flown to the park in a chopper from Gwalior. Earlier on Friday morning, a Boeing airplane, carrying the cheetahs in wooden crates, landed in Gwalior around 8 am after a 10-hour journey from Namibia.

Five female cheetahs that have been brought to India are aged between two years and five years, while three males are aged between 4.5 years and 5.5 years, NDTV reported, citing Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), a Namibia-based not-for-profit organisation.

The cheetah was officially declared extinct by the Indian government in 1952. The species reportedly disappeared from the country in 1947 after Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of the princely state of Koriya hunted down the last three recorded Asiatic cheetahs, according to The Indian Express.

After releasing the cheetahs, Modi thanked the Namibian government and said that the species has returned to India after several decades due to cooperation from the African country. The prime minister, who is celebrating his 72nd birthday today, said that India now has a chance to restore an element of biodiversity that had been lost long ago.

“Today, these cheetahs have come here as guests, and are in unfamiliar territory,” he said. “We have to give the cheetahs some months, so that they can make the Kuno National Park their home.”