Cheetahs had become extinct in India due to overhunting and habitat loss.
South Africa will send 12 cheetahs to India in February to help rebuild populations of the cat species which had become extinct in the Asian country.
The two countries entered into an agreement which will see South Africa send 12 cheetahs to India every year for the next eight to 10 years, according to a statement from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment.
This builds on previous transfers of cheetahs to India after they had been locally extinct for 70 years due to overhunting and habitat loss.
“The cats will join eight cheetahs introduced to India from Namibia during 2022,” the DFFE said.
The reintroduction of cheetahs to India will not only have ecological benefits but will also improve the economies of local communities.
The initiative was launched following a request from India’s government.
The programme is coordinated by the DFFE, the South African National Biodiversity Institute, South African National Parks, the Cheetah Range Expansion Project, and the Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa. These South African organisations are collaborating with the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Wildlife Institute of India.
The countries will also exchange best practices on carnivore conservation which includes the transfer of technology, training professionals and shared custodianship of the cheetahs as they are moved.
The terms of the agreement will be reviewed every five years, the DFFE said.
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