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Centre- appointed task force meet to discuss shifting Namibian Cheetahs, to their acclimatization enclosure


Sheopur: A task force formed by the Centre to monitor the cheetahs brought to the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh from Namibia last month held a meeting on Thursday and among things discussed the issue of shifting the big cats to their acclimatization enclosure, sources in the state forest department said.

While members of the task force and officials were not available for comments, the sources said the meeting was held deep inside the jungle. ‘I can’t comment on the meeting’s outcome’, an official of the MP forest department told PTI. However, the sources said six out of the nine members of the task force took part in the meeting, which among other things, discussed the issue of shifting the cheetahs, currently kept in quarantine zones, to a larger acclimatization enclosure before they are released in the wild.

Eight cheetahs were reintroduced in KNP on September 17 at a function by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, heralding the return of the big cats to India 70 years after they were declared extinct in the country. The task force has to take a call on moving the cheetahs from their quarantine bomas (animal enclosure) to the acclimatisation enclosure for some two months before they are finally released into the wild, officials said.

The nine-member task force, including Wildlife Institute of India scientist Dr Vishnu Priya, was set up on September 20 to monitor the introduction of cheetahs in KNP and other designated areas by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The eight cheetahs – five females and three males – are in the 30-66 month age group and named Freddy, Alton, Savannah, Sasha, Obaan, Asha, Cibili and Saisa.

They are currently housed in six ‘bomas’, two of which are 50 metres into 30 metres, and four are 25 square metres in area, and are being reared on a diet of buffalo meat, the officials said. The last cheetah died in India in Koriya district of present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947 and the species was declared extinct in 1952.



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