Twelve cheetahs from South Africa were flown into Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday morning, from where they will be taken to the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Sheopur district for release into quarantine enclosures.
An Indian Air Force (IAF) plane carrying the felines landed at the Gwalior air base around 10 am.
These cheetahs – seven males and five females – comprise the second set of big cats coming to the KNP, the first set of eight from Namibia having been released on September 17 last year at a function by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
From Gwalior, they will be flown to the KNP around 12 noon in an IAF helicopter. They will be put into quarantine bomas (enclosures) after half an hour (12.30 pm), an expert had said.
These animals will be released into the KNP by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union minister Bhupender Yadav.
The intercontinental translocation of these fastest land animals – first from Namibia and now from South Africa – is part of the Indian government’s ambitious cheetah reintroduction programme.