Cheetahs return to India: PM Narendra Modi releases wild Cheetahs at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today released wild Cheetahs - which had become extinct from India - in Kuno National Park. Cheetahs - brought from Namibia - are being introduced in India under Project Cheetah, which is world's first inter-continental large wild carnivore translocation project. Out of the eight Cheetahs there are five female and three male Cheetahs.


The Prime Minister released Cheetahs at two release points in Kuno National Park. The Prime Minister also interacted with Cheetah Mitras, Cheetah Rehabilitation Management Group and students at the venue. The Prime Minister addressed the Nation on this historic occasion.

The release of wild Cheetahs by the Prime Minister in Kuno National Park is part of his efforts to revitalise and diversify India’s wildlife and its habitat. The cheetah was declared extinct from India in 1952. The Cheetahs that would be released are from Namibia and have been brought under an MoU signed earlier this year. The introduction of Cheetah in India is being done under Project Cheetah, the world’s first inter-continental large wild carnivore translocation project.

Cheetahs will help restore open forest and grassland ecosystems in India. This will help conserve biodiversity and enhance the ecosystem services like water security, carbon sequestration and soil moisture conservation, benefiting society at large. This effort, in line with the Prime Minister’s commitment to environmental protection and wildlife conservation, will also lead to enhanced livelihood opportunities for the local community through eco-development and ecotourism activities.

The historic reintroduction of Cheetahs in India is part of a long series of measures for ensuring sustainability and environment protection in the last eight years which has resulted in significant achievements in the area of environment protection and sustainability. . The coverage of Protected Areas which was 4.90% of the country's geographical area in 2014 has now increased to 5.03%. This includes an increase in Protected Areas in the country from 740 with an area of 1,61,081.62 sq.kms. in 2014 to present 981 with an area of 1,71,921 sq.kms.

Forest and tree cover has increased by 16,000 square kms in the last four years. India is among few countries in the world where forest cover is consistently increasing

Governor, Madhya Pradesh Shri Mangubhai Patel; Chief Minister, Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan; Union Ministers, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Shri Bhupender Yadav, Shri Jyotiraditya M Scindia and Shri Ashwini Chobey were among those present on the occasion.