Supreme Court of India has given permission to the government to reintroduce cheetahs into the wild in India. Responding to the plea made by the government of India, Cheetahs can be reintroduced into the wild only in the selected areas after a proper survey.
Wildlife enthusiasts were happy with the news as many conservationists and Cheetah experts had discussions to reintroduce Cheetah in India and had prepared plans related to it. But few wildlife conservationists feel that reintroducing African Cheetahs into Indian forests might cause a bigger problem as they might take longer time than imagined to adapt to these weather conditions. To keep Cheetahs adapted to this weather, India might have to breed them under semi-captive conditions in open zoo rather than letting them to roam free. They even feel that without proper habitat, the whole project might end up going down. It might even make changes to the prey-predator ratio as there are other big predators in Indian forests. It also leads to more and more man-animal conflicts.
Cheetahs are recognised as endangered species according to the reports on international trade in endangered species. There are only 7,100 Cheetahs left in which almost all are in African continent. Asiatic Cheetah which once roamed around India can now only be found in Iran. Cheetahs are the only large mammals that got extinct after Indian independence. Most of the cheetahs were killed during man-animal conflict.
World’s first Cheetah to be bred in captivity was in India during Mughal emperor Jahangir’s rule. At least till 18th century Asiatic Cheetahs roamed freely all around India and the number was expected to be more than 10,000. But as the time passed by, especially in the 19th century most of them were killed as a part of trophy hunting, man-animal conflict. Last Cheetah in India was sighted in 1968.
Similar reintroduction project was done for Lions as they were reintroduced in Uttar Pradesh forests In the 1950s but all were killed for poaching.