The population of cheetahs in India once numbered in the tens of thousands. But following the animal’s extensive capture, the graceful feline eventually became extinct in 1952. Seventy years later, the world’s fastest land animal is now expected to make a comeback in the South Asian country.
Government officials have recently announced a concerted action plan to bring back cheetahs into the country. As part of the plan, 50 of the big cats will be reintroduced over the next five years, in cohorts of 10-12 young cheetahs at several surveyed sites at a time. According to The Hindu, the cubs will be imported from Namibia or South Africa as a founder stock during the first year.
“An existing coalition of wild males shall be selected while the selected females shall also be known to each other as far as possible,” said the 300-page action plan. “The animals’ lineage and condition shall be checked in the host country to ensure that they are not from an excessively inbred stock and are in the ideal age group, so as to conform to the needs of a founding population.”