Move to introduce African cheetahs in India prompts questions

A cheetah and her cubs roaming seen in southern Kenya on Dec 6, 2019. A plan to reintroduce African cheetahs to the Indian sub-continent has prompted concern from wildlife conservationists.
A cheetah and her cubs roaming seen in southern Kenya on Dec 6, 2019. A plan to reintroduce African cheetahs to the Indian sub-continent has prompted concern from wildlife conservationists.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI - One night in 1947 while driving through the countryside, an Indian maharaja, infamous for his hunting exploits, shot dead three cheetahs. They turned out to be possibly the last of the species in India, and the animal is widely believed to have gone extinct here in the 50s.

More than six decades later, an ambitious government plan to introduce the African cheetah - which is distinct from the Asiatic cheetah that once roamed in India - has received the go-ahead from the Supreme Court. The court had turned down a similar plan in 2013 for lack of preparedness but, in its order dated Jan 28, has now allowed the project to proceed.

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