India reintroduces cheetahs - eight animals arrived from Africa

Vor around seven decades are the last in India living cheetahs died - now the country is trying to resettle the big cats.

prime minister Narendra Modi released eight cheetahs from Namibia to a quarantine enclosure in a national park in the state of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, on his 72nd birthday, video footage broadcast on Indian television showed.

The animals should initially remain there and be monitored. They arrived by plane at Gwalior Air Force Base in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday morning and were then flown to their new home by helicopter.

Further resettlements planned

It's the first time cheetahs have been translocated from one continent to another, said Yadvendradev Jhala, who works on the project for India. In the coming years, India wants to bring more cheetahs into the country.

The imported cheetahs from Namibia are optically identical to the Asian cheetah subspecies. But they are genetically different. Unlike the cheetahs in southern Africa, the Asian cheetah subspecies hardly exist anymore.

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