BHOPAL: The Kuno National Park (KNP) in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh is all set to welcome 12 semi-adult and adult wild cheetahs from South Africa on February 18.As many as 10 ‘bomas’ (small enclosures) are set to become the first home of the 12 satellite-collared wild cheetahs from South Africa (including two pairs of siblings) in India. The cheetahs from South Africa are likely to include seven males and five females. They will be flown from Johannesburg to Gwalior in an IAF aircraft, MP forest department officials told this newspaper on Tuesday.
Once in Gwalior on February 18 morning, the cheetahs will be flown to KNP in IAF copters, officials said.
On September 17, 2022, eight Namibian cheetahs were flown to India in a private aircraft.“Ten quarantine bomas are ready to house the 12 wild cheetahs (a pair each of coalition animals/siblings will be housed in two bomas) where they will be fed buffalo meat for at least a month, before being shifted to bigger enclosures like the eight cheetahs flown from Namibia on PM Narendra Modi’s birthday on September 17, 2022, to mark the first successful inter-continental translocation of the African cheetahs to India,” a senior KNP official said.Two more quarantine enclosures have been kept as a backup in case of any exigency (like illness) with any of the 12 South African cheetahs in the future.
Of the eight Namibian cheetahs flown in at KNP, five are wild and three bred in captivity, so they take more time to acclimatise with the wild, particularly in dealing with co-predators like leopards. On the other hand, the 12 South African cheetahs arriving on February 18 are wild.