On his birthday (today), PM Shri Narendra Modi ji presented India with a gift like none other: the fastest land animal CHEETAH, long lost to the country for over 75 years now. Driven to extinction thanks to relentless hunting by the British in team with the princely state Maharajahs of pre-independent India, the Cheetah’s exit has been lamented unanimously by the wildlife lovers across the nation.
Govt of India has reintroduced the African Cheetah back in India, as eight of them have been procured from Namibia after due quarantine and bureaucratic formalities. PM Modi released the radio-collared cheetahs this morning into the Kuna National Park, Madhya Pradash that will serve as the new home (range) of the felines. India is home to other big cats such as the (Gir) Lions, the Bengal tiger and the leopard. The cheetah has been sorely missed. India is also home to the Asian/Indian Elephant (Elepha Maximus) and other exotic wild(life) flora and fauna species. The world has very few bio-diversity spheres of staggering range like we have here in India. It is all the more our responsibility to see to that the wildlife are conserved well in our country so that we need not have to show our children tiger and elephant in science text books or zoos. May generations of Indians go on jeep safaris in our national parks to savour the natural sightings of our wildlife species. That’s an unparalleled life experience – an adrenaline rush that cannot be put into words. As someone who has sighted wild elephants although in the shoulder areas adjoining our wildlife sanctuaries rather than within the contours of our national parks, I can relate to what the cheetah means for India and our wildlife enthusiasts around the country. There are park aficionados among us and committed wildlife photographers devoted to their passionate hobby whose entire annual vacations are reserved for safaris in India and Africa. There are religious wildlife wardens who take their official duties rather seriously because of whose tremendous efforts, conservation is on track. And then there are those like me! Expressing my heartfelt gratitude to PM Modi for giving us Indians back the cheetahs, and sending him my birthday wishes. Our Forest department will take the best care of the cheetahs that have come home to us. Let us wait for them to settle down in their new natural environs where they will be sharing their range with lions and tigers and elephants and leopards of India. I wonder with their bullet train speed, how many states of India will they be setting their foot in through connecting wildlife corridors. Over 50 cheetahs to be introduced to Indian wildlife sanctuaries in phased manner the first leg of which was flagged off at Kuna this morning. Welcome back home CHEETAH!