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Lobbying fails, South Africa okays MoU to send to India 12 cheetahs


BHOPAL: At the end of many months of waiting, South Africa’s Minister of Forests, Fisheries and Environment Barbara Creecy approved a Memorandum of Understanding with India on the Cheetah Project, and the documents are now being forwarded to President Cyril Ramaphosa, sources told TOI.
With this, another 12 cheetahs will be moved to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh to join the eight brought from Namibia in September. These eight cheetahs are currently in hunting grounds as a piece. prelude to a complete release into the wild.
In July 2022, South Africa requested to send 12 cheetahs as part of India’s first-ever repopulation effort at Kuno. However, the Memorandum of Understanding was repeatedly delayed following “negative warnings and reports” by a group of self-proclaimed conservationists in both countries, the sources said.
Initially, the cheetah shipment from South Africa coincided with the shipment from Namibia. Of the 12 South African cheetahs selected for Kuno, nine are in quarantine in Rooiberg, Limpopo province and the rest in Phinda, KwaZulu-Natal province.
Although Kuno’s current capacity is 21 cheetahs, once it is expanded it can hold around 36 leopards, sources said.

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