New Delhi: Eight cheetahs from Namibia land in what is today India, as part of a program to reintroduce the feline to India, seven decades after it was declared extinct in the country. According to an official, the plane landed at Gwalior airbase shortly before 8 am. The cheetahs were transported in special wooden crates by a modified Boeing aircraft that took off from the African country on Friday night. These cheetahs will be taken to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will celebrate his birthday. He will release the three cheetahs in the quarantine enclosures at 10.45 am. According to an official, the animals will be flown in an Air Force helicopter from Gwalior to Kuno in Sheopur district in about 20-25 minutes, a distance of 165 km.
The cheetahs were not fed during the journey and would be given food after being released into the enclosures. In addition, a platform has been constructed in the park to house special cages containing cheetahs, and Prime Minister Modi will release three of them into an enclosure with a lever. According to the official, other dignitaries will then release the remaining cheetahs in other enclosures.
The Cheetah was taken on a special flight operated by Terra Avia, a European airline based in Chisinau, Moldova that operates chartered passenger and cargo flights. The park covers an area of 344 square kilometers and is situated on the northern side of the Vidyachal mountains.
Authorities had to deal with heavy rain, inclement weather and some blocked roads to complete preparations for Narendra Modi’s program to release the big cats to their new home in Kuno. Two days before Modi’s arrival, there was heavy rain in Gwalior-Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh.