Kuno National Park Welcoming Back the Cheetahs to India
India has always been known for its unique wildlife. The lush and evergreen forests of India, and the rich habitat has always been home to many beautiful animals, including the big cats like Royal Bengal Tigers, Leopards, and Cheetahs. India once boasted of having many Cheetahs before they became extinct 1952 due to excessive hunting and the loss of their habitat.
Known for their speed and immense agility, the Cheetahs were hunted by the Rajas and Maharajas of India, and the Cheetah kill was considered a mark of great hunter. Since these Asiatic Cheetahs were wiped out completely from India, many efforts were made to bring them back from overseas.
After many failed attempts and deliberations, Cheetahs were brought back to India in September 2022. These beautiful cats were brought in from Namibia and they arrived at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, which will be their new home. The Cheetahs are brought to India as part of a program to reintroduce felines in India and they were released in the wild by Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Apart from these eight Cheetahs, 12 more big cats are expected to arrive in India in October 2022.
The Cheetahs were brought to India in a special flight from Namibia, and they first arrived in Gwalior and then they were brought to Kuno National Park by Indian Air Force helicopters. Since these Cheetahs have arrived in India, they are kept under constant supervision by veterinarians, including three Cheetah experts from Namibia who came to India with the big cats.
Currently, in open enclosures, the experts from Namibia and the vets from India, who are part of the Government task force are observing the behavioural pattern and health status of the Cheetahs. The experts believe that these cats need time to get accustomed to the new environment and surroundings they are left in the wild.
Nestled in the Vindhya hills, Kuno National Park is located in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh. The park gets its name from the Kuno River that flows through it. Originally a protected area, Kuno was declared a sanctuary in 1981, and was later upgraded to National Park in 2018 when the Government of India wanted to introduce lions to Kuno from Gir sanctuary.
Spread over 748 square kilometres, the Kuno National Park in MP was chosen as the home for the African cheetahs based on the assessment by Wildlife Institute of India and Wildlife Trust of India. The experts found that this national park had the most suitable habitat for the big cats in terms of best climatic condition, population of other predators, and prey density.
Also, experts suggest that Kuno National Park has the characteristics of both southern and northern dry deciduous forest, and it also includes a riverine forest and grasslands. The most commonly found trees in the forest include Salai, Khair, and Kardhai. The diversity of the landscape and its vegetation have made the forest a perfect spot for many animals, birds and mammals to thrive in the region. Some of the key animal species found in the region include wild boars, nilgai, sambar, jackals, spotted deer, etc.
According to the government data, at present, Kuno National Park has the capacity to house about 21 Cheetahs. However, under the guidance of the Government task force, efforts are made to increase the prey density, and keep 36 cheetahs at Kuno National Park.
Apart from monitoring the Cheetahs, the task force will also decide on organising safari tours. The park is likely to be open to the public in January 2023 so that tourists can take a tour of the park and spot the Cheetahs in the wild.
Madhya Pradesh is known for its vast forest area that is home to many Tiger Reserves, including the Kanha National Park, and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. As you await to see the Cheetahs in the wild, you can take a trip to one of these national parks in MP, which are equally fascinating and you may get to see the Royal Bengal Tigers.
If you are visiting the Kanha National Park, you may make your holiday experience here even better by booking your stay at the resort in Kanha by Club Mahindra Kanha resort, one of the finest resorts in Kanha. It would be the perfect base for you to enjoy a wildlife safari and explore other beautiful places nearby. After a long day exploring the city, you can relax comfortably in your spacious rooms, or unwind yourself with a dip in the pool.