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PM Modi launches world’s first cheetah rehabilitation project by releasing 8 cheetahs in MP’s Kuno National Park

PM Modi launches world’s first Cheetah Rehabilitation Project by releasing 8 cheetahs brought from Namibia at MP’s Kuno National Park

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today released wild Cheetahs, which had become extinct from India, in Kuno National Park. Cheetahs which have been brought from Namibia are being introduced in India under Project Cheetah, which is world’s first inter-continental large wild carnivore translocation project.

Out of the eight Cheetahs there are five female and three male. Mr. Modi released Cheetahs at two release points in Kuno National Park.

On the occasion, he also interacted with Cheetah Mitras, Cheetah Rehabilitation Management Group and students at the venue.

The release of wild Cheetahs by the Prime Minister is part of his efforts to revitalise and diversify India’s wildlife and its habitat. The cheetah was declared extinct from India in 1952.

The Cheetahs will help restore open forest and grassland ecosystems in India. This effort, in line with the Prime Minister’s commitment to environmental protection and wildlife conservation, will also lead to enhanced livelihood opportunities for the local community through eco-development and ecotourism activities.

The historic reintroduction of Cheetahs in India is part of a long series of measures for ensuring sustainability and environment protection in the last eight years which has resulted in significant achievements in the area of environment protection and sustainability.

In his address to the nation on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that the India of the 21st century is giving a message to the whole world that economy and ecology are not conflicting fields. He said that India is a living and breathing example that economic progress of the country can take place along with protecting the environment.

He pointed out that today when the world looks at nature and the environment, it talks about sustainable development. For India, nature and environment, its animals and birds, are not just about sustainability and security but the basis of India’s sensibility and spirituality.  

The Prime Minister underlined that this monumental occasion has led to the nature-loving consciousness of India being awakened with full force. Mr. Modi congratulated all the countrymen on this historic occasion while making a special mention of Namibia and its government with whose cooperation, the cheetahs have returned to Indian soil after decades.

Taking note of Azadi ka Amritkaal, the Prime Minister recalled the Panch Pran and highlighted the importance of taking pride in  India’s heritage and liberation from the mentality of slavery. He further recalled that in the last centuries, the exploitation of nature was considered to be a symbol of power and modernity.

The Prime Minister remarked that even though cheetahs had become extinct from India in 1952, no meaningful effort was made to rehabilitate them for the past seven decades. He expressed elation that in the Azadi Ka Amit Mahotsav, the country has started to rehabilitate cheetahs with new energy.

Drawing everyone’s attention to the years of hard work that went behind making this rehabilitation successful, he said that the utmost energy was deployed for an area that is not given too much political importance.

He mentioned that a detailed Cheetah Action Plan was prepared while India’s talented scientists conducted extensive research, working closely with South African and Namibian experts.

Mr. Modi further added that when the cheetahs sprint in Kuno National Park, the grassland eco-system will be restored and it will also lead to an increase in biodiversity.

He highlighted that employment opportunities will increase as a result of the growing eco-tourism in the area thereby opening up new possibilities for development.

The Prime Minister made a request to all the countrymen to act with patience and wait for a few months to witness the cheetahs released in Kuno National Park.

Throwing light on the work carried out by the government, the Prime Minister said that since the formation of his government in 2014, about 250 new protected areas have been added in the country.

He added that there has also been a big increase in the number of Asiatic lions and Gujarat has emerged as a dominating sphere of Asiatic lions in the country.

He also drew everyone’s attention to the global issues that India is addressing today and reiterated the need to analyse global problems, their solutions and even our lives in a holistic way.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister thanked the government of Namibia for help in programme to reintroduce cheetahs to India. He added that Cheetahs are our guests and they should be given a few months to make Kuno national park their home.

Meanwhile, The efforts made by the Narendra Modi government have brought positive results in the conservation of wildlife. The government has said that the coverage of Protected Areas which was 4.90 percent of country’s geographical area in 2014 has now increased to 5.03 percent.

This includes an increase in Protected Areas in the country from 740 with area of over one lakh 61 thousand square kilometers in 2014 to 981 with an area of over one lakh 71 thousand square kilometers at present.

On the other hand, forest and tree cover has increased by 16 thousand kilometers in the last four years and  India is among few countries in the world where forest cover is consistently increasing.

India is home to 52 Tiger Reserves covering 18 States with around  75 percent of population of the wild tiger at the global level.

The Tiger Population in India has increased from 2 thousand 226 in 2014 to 2 thousand 967 in 2018. The budgetary allocation for tiger conservation was raised from 185 crore rupees in 2014 to  300 crore rupees in 2022.

The population of Asiatic Lions also recorded a steady increase with a population of 674 individuals since 2015. So far it has witnessed one of the highest growth rate of  28.87 percent.

Besides, the country has also witnessed over 60 percent increase in the population of leopard since 2014. The number of leopard has gone up from 7 thousand 910  in 2014 to 12 thousand 852 in 2020.

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