Prime Minister Narendra Modi released cheetahs flown in from Namibia into a special enclosure at the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday.
He also clicked some pictures of the cheetahs on a professional camera after releasing them. Eight cheetahs were brought to Gwalior from Namibia in a special plane on Saturday morning as part of the cheetah reintroduction programme. The animals were later flown to the KNP, located in Sheopur district, in two Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters.
The prime minister, who is celebrating his birthday, released two of these cheetahs into an enclosure at the KNP. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was also present on the occasion. The KNP is situated on the Northern side of Vidhyachal mountains with an area of 344.686 sq km. It was named after a tributary of Chambal River, Kuno, a forest official said.
The last cheetah died in the country in 1947 in Korea district in present day Chhattisgarh, which was earlier part of Madhya Pradesh, and the species was declared extinct from India in 1952.
The ‘African Cheetah Introduction Project in India’ was conceived in 2009. A plan to introduce the big cat in the KNP by November last year had suffered a setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.