Guwahati: Cheetahs that went extinct in India back in 1952 are now set to make a come back to the country.

The Centre has launched an action plan under which 50 cheetahs will be introduced in India in the next five years.

Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said, “The cheetah that became extinct in independent India, is all set to return.”

As per the action plan, around 10-12 young cheetahs will be imported from Namibia or South Africa. These cheetahs will be introduced as the founder stock during the first year of the plan.

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It has been expected that around eight cheetahs will be introduced to the Kuno Palpur National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh in August.

The action plan stated, “An existing coalition of wild males shall be selected while the selected females shall also be known to each other as far as possible.”

“The animals’ lineage and condition shall be checked in the host country to ensure that they are not from an excessively inbred stock and are in the ideal age group, so as to conform to the needs of a founding population,” said the over 300-page action plan.

Kuno Palpur National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh has been rated high on the priority list for the introduction of big cats.

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The park is said to be suitable habitat and adequate prey base.

It may be mentioned that the cats were expected to be reintroduced in November 2021 in Madhya Pradesh but due to the pandemic, the plan was delayed.

Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) are large cats, native to Africa and central Iran.

They are the fastest land animal, estimated to be capable of running at 80 to 128 km/h (50 to 80 mph) with the fastest reliably recorded speeds being 93 and 98 km/h (58 and 61 mph).

It typically reaches 67–94 cm (26–37 in) at the shoulder, and the head-and-body length is between 1.1 and 1.5 m (3 ft 7 in and 4 ft 11 in). Adults weigh between 21 and 72 kg (46 and 159 lb).

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