New Delhi: The first batch of 12 cheetahs are expected to reach India from South Africa in October. Efforts were being made to reintroduce these cats to India, after they were declared extinct from the country in 1952.
A team of wildlife experts from South Africa returned to their country on Friday from India where they inspected the holding facility where the cheetahs will be released, news agency PTI reported.
Wildlife veterinarian Dr Andy Fraser and South African cheetah expert Prof Adrian Tordiffe would accompany the animals expected to reach India next month.
Frasier said the team is preparing for the larger and more challenging relocation of cheetahs to India which will require the cats to travel a much longer distance with stops in commercial airports.
Those cheetahs would be treated with a tranquiliser that lasts for three to five days during their travel, he said.
Cheetah conservation efforts
The move will aid global cheetah conservation efforts since their range in Africa is limited,” Al Jazeera report quotes an Indian official as saying.
The plan is for the cats to be kept in large enclosures in central Indian forests, protected from other predators like leopards or bears, to give them time to get used to their new home, he added.
The enclosures have prey – like deer and antelope – which scientists hope the cheetahs will hunt. After a few months of close monitoring, the cheetahs will be radio-collared and released, the official said.
South Africa, where the cheetah population is expanding at a rate of about 8 percent annually, is also flying four cheetahs to Mozambique this week as part of efforts to reintroduce the distinctively spotted cats in regions.