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Cheetahs are back! MP’s Kuno Park new home to big cats from Africa soon

The Kuno Palpur sanctuary in Sheopur will be home to the batch of 12-15 cheetahs who will be brought here soon

Cheetahs, the world’s fastest mammals are set to return to India. Madhya Pradesh will be the first state in the country to introduce the wild cats in the few weeks. The move comes 74 years the last cheetah was killed in the country. 

A team of senior Madhya Pradesh government officials led by principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) JS Chouhan is camping in South Africa and Namibia. After returning home on February 25, the team will submit its report to the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.

The Kuno Palpur sanctuary in Sheopur will be home to the batch of 12-15 cheetahs who will be brought here soon. Situated at a distance of 125 kilometres from the Gwalior airport, the 344 square kilometre long national park was recommended one of the three sites in India in 1992. 

The Supreme Court in 2020 had given the nod to introduce African cheetahs in India on an experimental basis in a habitat which could be clearly monitored to check if the big cat could adapt to the conditions in India. The Wildlife Institute of India in collaboration with the Wildlife Trust of India had recommended Kuno Palpur and two other sites for introducing cheetahs after assessment in 2010. 


Initially, the plan was to develop Kuno Palpur as the second home of lion. The original plan in 1996-97 was to relocate lions from Gujrat’s Gir under a 640 crore project. The Madhya Pradesh government had successfully shifted 24 villages comprising 1545 families to reduce biotic pressure. 

 As per the International Union of Conservation of Nature, the Asiatic Cheetahs have been classified as critically endangered. Their population is really small and are now found in Iran. 

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