Governments seeks return of cheetah to India

October 7th, 2009 - 6:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS) The Ministry of Environment and Forests has asked the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to prepare a roadmap for re-introduction of the cheetah in India, the NGO said in a statement Wednesday.
Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh conveyed the decision to the WTI chairman M.K. Ranjitsinh Tuesday.

In a consultative meeting Sep 9-10 in Gajner in Rajasthan, experts identified Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to study the potential sites for cheetah re-introduction.

The study, to be conducted by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in collaboration with WTI, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the concerned state governments, will determine the suitable site as well as the groundwork needed for re-introduction.

“We have been given a mandate to prepare this roadmap in four months. The return of the cheetah would make India the only country in the world to host six of the world’s eight large cats and the only one to have all the large cats of Asia,” said Ranjitsinh.

“The effort would also ensure conservation action in cheetah habitats in India, which so far, has been severely lacking,” the statement quoted him as saying.

Cheetahs are the only large mammal species believed to have gone extinct from the Indian peninsula in modern history.

At the consultative meeting, Yadvendradev Jhala of the WII said habitats are available in India to reintroduce the cheetah. Well-known cheetah expert Laurie Marker favoured African cheetah as against the Iranian cheetah, which is nearest to India, as its population in Iran is very low.

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