After months of waiting, 12 cheetahs from South Africa are all set to arrive in India on Saturday in Kuno Park of Madhya Pradesh. Earlier in 2022, eight such spotted cats were brought from Namibia last year.
These big cats, seven males and five females, will set on to a journey to their new home thousands of miles away aboard an Indian Air Force (IAF) transport aircraft from the OR Tambo International Airport, Gauteng, South Africa on Friday evening.
The project participant and expert said that the South African Cheetahs will first arrive at Gwalior Air Force base in MP on Saturday morning and 30 minutes later they will be transported some 165 km away to KNP in Sheopur district by IAF helicopters.
The experts said that after landing at KNP at around 12 pm they will be put into quarantine bomas (enclosures) after half an hour (12.30 pm).
KNP Director Uttam Sharma said they have set up 10 quarantine bomas for South African cheetahs. In two of these facilities, two pairs of cheetah brothers would be kept.
“We have completed our preparations to receive the big cats on Saturday,” he further added.
Experts said a delegation from South Africa visited KNP earlier in September, 2022 in order to see arrangements at the wildlife sanctuary for housing the world’s fastest land animals.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and South Africa last month for the translocation of the mammals. South Africa has donated these big cats to India. However, India has to pay USD 3,000 for the capture of every cheetah to the African nation before they are transferred.
India planned to airlift these South African Cheetahs in August of 2022 however, they did not succeed in doing so. It was due to delay in signing a formal translocation agreement between South Africa and India.