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India to import more Cheetahs from South Africa despite mysterious deaths of 9 big cats in MP | Mint – Mint

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The Indian government is planning to spend crore of rupees on the import of Cheetahs from South Africa once again. Project Cheetah head SP Yadav on Saturday told PTI news agency that Cheetahs will be imported from South Africa and introduced into Madhya Pradesh’s Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary. However, Yadav did not share any specific date when the Cheetahs will be imported to India, he said by the end of this year, the big cats may come into India.
He said this time they have set up a plant to import cheetahs that do not develop thicker winter coats — a primary factor behind severe infections in some cheetahs and the death of three of them who were relocated from Africa to India.
Yadav explained that the winter coat, combined with high humidity and temperatures, caused itching, prompting the animals to scratch their necks on tree trunks or the ground. This led to bruises and exposed skin, where flies laid their eggs, resulting in maggot infestations and, ultimately, bacterial infections and septicemia, leading to death.
Last year eight cheetahs arrived in Madhya Pradesh after a flight from Africa. The five female and three male cheetahs were introduced at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.
In less than a year 20 African cheetahs were translocated to India at Kuno National Park as the Government of India has signed an MoU to bring 8 cheetahs from Namibia and 12 from South Africa.
The total cost of this project is estimated at around 91 crore. India’s top oil firm IOC will give 50.22 crore for this project as a CSR (Corporate social Responsibility).
The carnivores were completely wiped from the country and were declared extinct in 1952, due to overhunting and habitat loss were reintroduced as part of the ‘Action Plan for Reintroduction of Cheetah in India’ prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India.
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