Cheetahs make a comeback in India after 70 years

Eight huge cats from Namibia travelled a great distance. An ambitious and contentious plan to reintroduce cheetahs to the South Asian nation was carried out on Saturday in a chartered cargo aeroplane to the northern Indian city of Gwalior.

Then they were relocated to their new location, a sizable national park in the middle of India, where researchers believe the fastest land animal in the world would once again roam.

On Saturday morning, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi let the cats out into their enclosure. The cats cautiously at first and continuously inspecting their new surroundings emerged from their prison.

Cheetahs were previously common in India, but due to poaching and habitat destruction, they went extinct in 1952.

They are still the only predator to have disappeared since India gained its freedom in 1947. India hopes that bringing in African cheetahs will help with conservation efforts for the country's imperilled and generally uncared-for grasslands.

Globally, less than 7,000 adult cheetahs are still living, and they no longer cover more than 9% of their historic habitat.

In the majority of countries, cheetah numbers are falling. South Africa is an exception to this rule because there is no more room for the cats there. Experts think that Indian woods could allow these cats opportunity to thrive.

Twelve cheetahs are now being held in quarantine in South Africa; they will likely soon make their way to Kuno National Park. Four cheetahs seized in South African parks were flown to Mozambique earlier this month.

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