The Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav has told the media that 12 African Cheetahs are en route to India from South Africa.
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Relocation of Cheetahs
The African Cheetahs will be relocated to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. Originally, India proposed to receive the African cheetahs by mid-2022, However due to the hindrance in concluding a Memorandum of Understanding between the India and South Africa, led to the delay in the shifting of the Cheetah, one of the reason for the delay is cheetahs are quarantined at a reserve in limpopo province.
Medical Experts stated that the success in the shifting of Cheetahs into rehabilitation sites in India would need the constant supply of more or less 10 unattached individuals per year, over a ten-year period to ensure short-term genetic and demographic integrity.
The Cheetahs will be assisted and supervised by engaging veterinarians at all times.
The relocation of Cheetah will aid in preserving and enhancing the grassland and forest ecosystems in India. further it will strengthen the ecosystem services like sustaining water table, carbon sequestration and soil moisture preservation, which in turn will serve society at large.
Significance of Cheetah
The Cheetah also called Acinonyx jubatus is known for its hunting abilities. The top speed of a cheetah is 110 km/hr. and is the fast moving land animal in the Earth.
Cheetahs essentially reside in grasslands, Even Though they usually prefer an open savanna ecosystem, cheetahs reside in a domain of habitats across eastern and southern Africa. Once they are all around Asia and Africa, cheetahs today are racing toward extinction.
They make prey species fit and strong by destroying the fragile and old, slowest of multiple species of animals. Cheetahs check the population through their hunt which in turn aids plant species by halting overgrazing.
Without carnivores like the cheetah, the grassland ecosystem in Namibia would be totally distinct and the present ecological system toward desertification would be expedited.
Major Threat to Cheetahs
African cheetahs are declared as vulnerable species by IUCN which means species facing a very high risk of extinction as a result of quick decline of population of 30 to greater than 50 percent prior to the previous 10 years (or three generations), a present population size of lesser than 1,000 individuals, or other factors
Cheetahs are undergoing extinction threat from multiple factors such as climate change, poaching by humans for commercial purposes and ecosystem destruction due to globalization, urbanization due to this their numbers getting reduced.
Following that Cheetahs’ DNA is itself a threat to its life and causes a challenge to their survival. Cheetahs are known to have a less successful rate of reproduction, meaning that as a species by nature it faces difficulties in reproduction. With lesser offspring, the cheetah neither expands nor conforms to changes in the environment.
If Cheetahs become extinct in the wild, there would be a chain of events known to be a trophic cascade which will lead to irreparable damage to the entire planet.
Steps to be taken
Community based conservation in which the local communities will be given important role in preserving the ecosystem.
Alerting tribes and seek cooperation with them in eliminating traps which are leading to loss of cheetahs lives.
Stringent regulation should be laid down to eradicate the illegal wildlife trade. eg CITES should constantly update its rules according to emerging threats.
International cooperation in knowledge sharing and technology transfer from developed countries to developing countries in preserving the wildlife Eg. Biotechnology, Disease causing Pathogens etc.
Spreading awareness about the amazing creature(cheetahs) and its significance to the people.
Investment in Research and Development to learn the behavior of cheetahs and its ecosystem.
Formulating eco-friendly tourist centers to display the cheetahs in a safe way.