Locals are delighted and proud that Kuno National Park has been chosen for the cheetah reintroduction program.

The government’s choice of the Kuno National Park in MP’s Sheopur as the site of the ambitious intercontinental cheetah translocation project. Which made the locals there joyful and proud.

Kuno National Park

People who live near the Kuno National Park in the Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh are pleased and proud that the government has chosen this wildlife center for the ambitious intercontinental cheetah translocation project, and they hope the move will increase job opportunities and improve the region’s fortunes.

On Saturday morning, eight cheetahs, five females and three males, will be transported from Namibia to Madhya Pradesh as part of “Initiative Cheetah,” the first intercontinental large wild carnivore translocation project ever.

On Saturday, the day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday, at 10.45 am, three of these cheetahs will be released into the park’s unique cages, seven decades after the animal went extinct in India.

The cheetahs were supposed to be flown to Jaipur in Rajasthan before being transported to Madhya Pradesh, according to the original plan. The big cats will now be flown to Gwalior, where they will then be transported to the KNP in a special chopper, they claimed.

The five female cheetahs range in age from two to five years, while their male siblings range in age from four and a half years to five and a half years, according to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), an international not-for-profit organization with its headquarters in Namibia and dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild.

“The fact that PM Modi chose KNP for cheetah rehabilitation fills the people of Sheopur district with pride. We are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the cheetahs that are being transported from an African nation, “said Kamal Singh, a resident of the village of Sesaipura, which is close to the KNP.

A Karahal local named Bharat Sharma remarked, “We are optimistic that the rehabilitation of cheetahs in Kuno National Park would improve the region’s prospects and safeguard our future. We are now certain that KNP and Sheopur will be well-known around the world, which will create a large number of employment prospects for the populace, particularly young people.” There is a lot of excitement among the population of villages close to the KNP about the cheetah reintroduction initiative and PM Modi’s involvement.

“Cheetahs and Modiji have arrived in Kuno National Park and Karahal, and the entire forest region is anticipating their arrival. The big moment is coming, and we are ready to welcome them. This is the first visit by an incumbent prime minister to the region, and the level of excitement and joy among the populace is unprecedented “Devkinandan Paliwal, a resident of Karahal, told PTI.

Eight cheetahs will arrive at Gwalior airport on Saturday morning following a roughly 10-hour flight from Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, according to a senior official with the forest department.

Cheetahs would be transported from Gwalior to KNP by heavy-lift Chinook helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF), the principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) wildlife, J S Chauhan, said on Friday, according to PTI.

Another official stated that the cheetahs will not be fed while traveling and will be given dinner once they have settled into their enclosures in the KNP.

A dais has been set up in the KNP, according to Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Uttam Sharma, behind which special crates containing cheetahs will be kept. PM Modi will release three of them into an enclosure by pulling a lever.

The remaining cheetahs will next be released into their enclosures by other dignitaries, he said.

The cheetahs will be transported on a special flight of Terra Avia, a company that handles chartered passenger and freight flights as well as aircraft leasing. Terra Avia is situated in Chisinau, Moldova (in Europe). In order to avoid any last-minute hiccups, the airline also demonstrated loading specific crates into the aircraft in Windhoek, according to insiders.

The Special Protection Group (SPG) is in charge of the district’s security as a result of the high-profile event, an official stated.

The day after the cheetahs are released, PM Modi will attend a Self Help Group (SHG) Sammelan at Karahal with female SHG members and community resource people. For this event, considerable preparations are being undertaken.

Before speaking at the SHG program, the prime minister will also plant trees in Karahal, according to Surendra Jat, the BJP’s Sheopur district president.

He claimed that while the PM is providing the best-ever “return gift” of cheetahs to the locals, the women SHG will present Modi with a basket of regionally made tribal goods on his birthday.

With a size of 344.686 sq km, the KNP is located on the northern side of the Vidhyachal mountains. According to a forest authority, it was given the name Kuno after a stream of the Chambal River.

In 1947, the last cheetah in the nation perished in the Korea district of what is now Chhattisgarh but was formerly part of Madhya Pradesh. In 1952, the species was declared extinct in India.

2009 saw the conception of the “African Cheetah Introduction Project in India.” According to officials, the COVID-19 epidemic had delayed a plan to introduce the big cat into the KNP by November of last year.

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