Cheetahs are returning to India after 70 years of extinction

From Johannesburg, 20 cheetahs will be transported to Kuno National Park, where they will then be released into the wild.

In India, antelopes could be trembling in their split hooves as one of the nation's top predators is about to make its comeback from extinction. 70 years after it was thought to be extinct in India, the swift and dangerous cheetah will be brought back.

As It Happens guest presenter Paul Hunter was informed by Yadvendradev Jhala, dean of the Wildlife Institute of India, "It's amazing to recover back a lost bit of the legacy which we have lost owing to human reasons."

"I've been working on it for about 20 years now," the speaker said.

As part of the reintroduction operations, 20 cheetahs will soon be shipped from South Africa and Namibia to India. Veterinarians used helicopter-launched tranquilizer darts to collect the majority of the cats from the reserves.

There are valid reasons to maintain a safe distance. Even if you are attempting to assist, you shouldn't approach a conscious cheetah too closely.

The cats have since received antibiotic treatment, been microchipped, and have undergone illness testing and vaccinations. As they wait to travel to their new home, they are now in confined cages.

The cheetahs will fly by cargo from Johannesburg to Delhi before being transported to Kuno National Park, a wildlife refuge in the Madhya Pradesh state of India, according to the BBC.

The cheetahs will be held in captivity there for at least a month before being released back into the wild.

And Jhala is eager to see the gorgeous animal in India once more after 20 years of working to save cheetahs.

"This amazing event has happened. One component of it is the speed, but it's also impressive to see the animal for what it is, even if it's simply strolling over the grassland "Jhala added.

Killed off by hunting

According to Jhala, the reason the cheetah disappeared from India's grasslands is not a mystery. In an effort to protect the nation from dangerous predators, citizens were granted bounties to kill the animals while the country was ruled by the British.

Jhala stated that "the Eastern faiths view nature as something that is under the custodianship of people."

When the British arrived, "the mentality of stewardship was gone and it become predatory."

According to Jhala, the last cheetah was shot in 1947, the same year that India gained independence from Britain. In the nation, the species was regarded as extinct by 1952.

Jhala claims that with that person's passing, a crucial aspect of Indian culture was gone.

"The term "cheetah" has Sanskrit roots. It was developed in India. … The cheetah is mentioned in the ancient Vedas, which were written roughly 4,000 years ago. There are Neolithic male-made cave drawings, "Jhala claimed.

"[The] Cheetah has played a significant role in Indian tradition, culture, and religion as well."

India has already attempted to restore its cheetah population. India suggested trading big cats with Iran in the 1970s; Iran would receive some of India's lions in return for some Asiatic cheetahs.

However, discussions broke down once the last Shah of the Imperial State of Iran was removed from power.

Following cheetah behavior

According to Jhala, the cheetahs' capacity to get it on will be crucial to their effective introduction to their new habitat.

We anticipate that after they are freed, they will continue to do what cheetahs do naturally—pair up, procreate, and give birth to other cheetahs.

However, the endeavor won't be dependent simply on their union. Over the next five years, Jhala intends to attract 35 to 50 people to India.

According to Jhala, "We want to capture the genetic diversity that is present in these nations so that the Indian population is genetically vigorous and we can develop a sustainable population in India."

The Indian antelope, which serves as the cheetah's primary food supply in the region, may perceive this as bad news. Being the prey of the extremely swift cats, however, has evolutionary advantages, according to Jhala.

"The weak individuals in the populations of prey are eliminated. Therefore, it has played a crucial role in the development of herbivores. And that power of evolution needs to be returned to how nature intended it to be, "He said.
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