Twelve cheetahs from South Africa landed at Madhya Pradesh's Gwalior Airport on Saturday.
The big cats made their journey in Indian Air Force's C-17 Globemaster Cargo plane. From there they will be taken to their new home, 'The Kuno National Park' in the state, officials said.
CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan expressed his gratitude to PM Narendra Modi and thanked him for increasing the number of Cheetahs in Kuno National Park.
"In Kuno National Park today, the number of Cheetahs is going to increase. I thank PM Modi from the bottom of my heart, it is his vision. 12 Cheetahs will be rehabilitated to Kuno and total number will become 20," CM Chouhan said.
Earlier the Cheetah Project Chief, SP Yadav said, "We are happy to announce that at 8.30 pm (Local South African Time), the 12 cheetahs took off from Johannesburg airport in a C-17 Globemaster aircraft for the Gwalior airport. The cheetahs will land at the Gwalior airport at around 10 am IST on Saturday, February 18".
Last year in September, eight cheetahs from Namibia were flown in to India.
The cheetahs are being brought to India as part of the Cheetah Reintroduction project on the basis of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the South African and the Indian governments.
The MoU facilitates cooperation between the two countries to establish a viable and secure cheetah population in India; promotes conservation and ensures that expertise is shared and exchanged, and capacity is built, to promote cheetah conservation. This includes human-wildlife conflict resolution, capture and translocation of wildlife and community participation in conservation in the two countries.
(With Inputs from ANI)