12 cheetahs arrive from South Africa at Gwalior Airport in MP.

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An Indian Air Force (IAF) plane carrying 12 cheetahs from South Africa landed in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior on Saturday morning, from where they will taken to the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Sheopur district, around 165 km from here, and released into quarantine enclosures.
These cheetahs – seven males and five females – comprise the second set of big cats coming to the state, with the first group of eight from Namibia having released into the KNP on September 17 last year at a function by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Around 10 am, a plane from South Africa carrying cheetahs landed at the Gwalior airport, according to Gwalior Superintendent of Police (SP) Amit Sanghi.

These cheetahs will transported to the KNP in an IAF helicopter following the clearance process in Gwalior, according to another official.
They will offloaded at the KNP around 12 noon, according to the plan, after which MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister for Environment and Forests Bhupender Yadav will release them into quarantine bomas, he added.

According to a project participant and expert, these animals took off for their new home thousands of miles away aboard an IAF transport aircraft from the O R Tambo International Airport in Gauteng, South Africa, shortly before midnight.

KNP Director Uttam Sharma stated that ten quarantine bomas for South African cheetahs have established. Two pairs of cheetahs would housed in two of these facilities.

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The intercontinental translocation of these fastest land animals – first from Namibia and now from South Africa – is part of the Indian government’s ambitious cheetah reintroduction program.
The country’s last cheetah died in the Koriya district of present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947 and the species  declared extinct in 1952.
Experts said a delegation from South Africa had visited the KNP in early September last year to see the arrangements at the wildlife sanctuary for housing the cheetahs.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and South Africa last month for the translocation of the mammals.
South Africa has donated these big cats to India. But India has to pay USD 3,000 for the capture of every cheetah to the African nation before they are translocated, said the wildlife expert.


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