A second batch of 12 cheetahs is expected to arrive in Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park (KNP) from South Africa on February 18, six months after eight of the spotted cats were released into the reserve, a senior forest official said.
According to current plans, 12 more cheetahs are being brought to KNP on February 18, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (wildlife) J S Chouhan said.
He said the felines will be flown from South Africa to Gwalior before being transported to Kuno. The official said he was unaware of the number of male and female cheetahs in the batch of 12. The cheetahs will be kept under one-month quarantine as per the norms, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had released the first batch of eight cheetahs – five females and three males – from Namibia into a quarantine enclosure at KNP on his 72nd birthday on September 17. The first batch of cheetahs is currently in hunting enclosures at the park before their full release into the wild.
Cheetahs are being reintroduced nearly seven decades after the species became extinct in India. The last cheetah died in the country in 1947 in the Korea district in present-day Chhattisgarh, and the species was declared extinct from India in 1952.
In January, India and South Africa signed an MoU on the reintroduction of cheetahs in the Asian country. As per the MoU, an initial batch of 12 cheetahs will be flown from South Africa to India.