South Africa will send dozens of cheetahs to India over a period of ten years after the two countries signed an agreement, reported PTI.
The feline species was reintroduced in India last year seven decades after it was declared extinct in the country. In September, eight cheetahs were brought from Namibia to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.
On Thursday, South Africa’s environmental department said that an initial batch of 12 cheetahs will be flown to India in February. “The plan is to translocate a further 12 annually for the next eight to 10 years,” it said.
The cheetah was officially declared extinct by the Indian government in 1952. The wild cats were last recorded in the country in 1948, when three cheetahs were shot in the Sal forests in Chhattisgarh’s Koriya District.
Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while released the eight cheetahs at Kuno National Park, had said that India has a chance to restore an element of biodiversity that had been lost long ago.
However, according to experts India does not have the habitat or prey species for African cheetahs, and the project may not fulfil its aim of grassland conservation.