Last health checks on India-bound cheetahs done in Namibia

Potential India-bound cheetahs examined on MOnday in Namibia

Photo credit Twitter Indian High Commission in Namibia

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By S Jha

New Delhi, August 15: From 9000 cheetahs in the reign of the emperor Akbar to the antelope going extinct in 1952, India is set to correct the history as an international team of experts on Monday examined the potential transfer candidates from Namibia in Africa to the Kuno National park in Madhya Pradesh.

“Cheetahs, potential candidates for transfer to Kuno National Park in due course undergoes health examination by international team of experts led by renowned specialist Dr Laurie Marker,” tweeted the Indian High Commission in Namibia.

The Indian High Commissioner Prashant Agarwal witnessed the key step in the transfer of the antelopes, which is being eagerly awaited in India by wildlife enthusiasts.

Cheetahs are documented by Mughal historians to have been employed as hunters, as the royals indulged in hunting as their favourite pastime, which only gained more intensity during the British rule when foreigners especially came to India to hunt the wild animals.

The princes and rajas of the tamed principalities have been widely documented to have been zealous hosts of the foreigners in hunting leopards, tigers, cheetahs and even lions.

The Kuno National park is making arrangements to welcome cheetahs in 10-acre habitat. The park has a large number of leopards currently, and there is a growing concern and anticipation that the two spotted wild animals may have faceoffs in the green pastures of Madhya Pradesh.

India has tested much success in conserving tigers, with their numbers multiplying over the years, while lions in the Gir National Park are stated to have grown big in numbers, triggering debate among the wildlife experts for the need to relocate some of them to the national parks in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

It may be recalled that Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has signed a wide-ranging agreements with his Namibian counterpart Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah on July 20 this year, which included transfer of eight cheetahs from Namibia to the Kuno National Park.

India will also receive 12 cheetahs from South Africa.

While the agreement had stated that the antelopes would be transferred to India by August 15, there appears obvious delay, but the process is indeed being expedited.

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