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The Cheetah Is Back In India

Almost 70 years after becoming extinct the Cheetah is back in India. Today on the 17 th of September 2022 first set of cheetahs from Namibia - 3 males and 5 females arrived at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.

With this addition, India is now home to six big cats namely
  • Tiger
  • Asiatic Lion
  • Leopard
  • Clouded Leopard
  • Snow Leopard
  • Cheetah
The carnivores were completely wiped out from the country and declared extinct in 1952 due to their use for coursing, sports hunting, overhunting, and habitat loss. As per records, the last three cheetahs were hunted by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo, King of Koriya (Chhattisgarh) in 1947. All three cheetahs were adults of similar measurements of 6 feet 4-5 inches, and all hunted at night.

This reintroduction is the first-of-its-kind inter-continent translocation project that aims to re- establish the population of the cheetahs in India where they once existed in large numbers.

Until the 20th century, the Asiatic cheetah was common and roamed from Israel, and the Arabian Peninsula to Iran, Afghanistan and India. In India, they ranged as far south as the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. The Asiatic cheetah, also known as the "hunting leopard" in India was kept by kings and princes to hunt gazelle and blackbucks. Firuz Shah Tughluq is considered the first ruler in medieval times to tame cheetahs for hunting purposes. The Mughal emperor Akbar had around 1000 Cheetahs for hunting gazelle and blackbucks.

While the conservation world in India remains sceptical about the success of this reintroduction, we would like to wish this reintroduction program all the success.

Here are some quick fun facts about this majestic wild cat:
  1. Here are some quick fun facts about this majestic wild cat:
  2. The fastest land animal in the world, a cheetah can reach 112km/h in just three seconds! Its body has evolved for speed, with long legs, an elongated spine, adapted claws to grip the ground and a long tail for balance.
  3. Cheetahs have a unique social life among cats. Females are solitary, while males live together (unlike, say, a lion pride, which has multiple females). A female usually raises her cubs alone, hiding them in dens by day, and teaching them her hunting skills as they grow.
  4. While some coalitions live in a small 30 km² territory, on other areas a cheetah may roam a vast range of 3,000 km²!
  5. The word Cheetah comes from a ‘Hindi’ word Chita, meaning the spotted one!


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