African cheetah will roar in India, Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh ready to welcome them; Supreme Court allows NTCA to re-introduce big cats in country

Bhopal: After a long wait, the chances of African cheetah coming to MP have increased. The Supreme Court has on Tuesday allowed the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to bring these cheetahs to India.

It is also said that these cheetahs would be kept in a favourable forest area only. Earlier, the Central government had identified three locations in the country for African cheetahs.

It has two places (Kuno-Palpur and Nauradehi Sanctuary) from Madhya Pradesh, while one Sanctuary is in Rajasthan.

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of Madhya Pradesh Wildlife Department JS Chauhan said that the Union Government had shortlisted Kuno-Palpur and Nauradehi as suitable habitats for Cheetah. If the government gives precedence to the previously identified locations, these big cats can be settled in MP. A suitable environment has been prepared for them at Kuno-Palpur.

Why it is important to bring these cheetahs: The NTCA filed an application in the Supreme Court stating that Indian cheetahs have become extinct in the country. So African Cheetahs should be brought from Namibia. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde has constituted a three-member committee which will guide the NTCA in taking a decision on the issue. The apex court will monitor it.

The apex court had earlier stayed any such relocation, stating that there was no scientific study to show that re-introduction of cheetahs and lions in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary would be successful.  

“It has taken so long to get the court to allow the re-introduction of the cheetah,” said MK Ranjitsinh, the head of a court-appointed committee to help NTCA.

“The court was misinformed and there is no evidence that the cheetah and lion cannot co-exist together,” added Ranjitsinh, the architect of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

Cheetahs went extinct in India once the ruler of an erstwhile princely state in Koriya, Chhattisgarh gunned down the last three Asiatic cheetahs in 1947. Some though reported spotting a female cheetah in 1951.