But endangered cats had a much larger range. Historically, cheetahs roamed the Middle East and central India as well as most of sub-Saharan Africa. Habitat loss, poaching, and conflict with humans have dramatically reduced their population.
The animals selected for the 11-hour trip were “based on an assessment of health, wild disposition, hunting skills, and ability to contribute genetics that will result in a strong institutional set,” the organization says.
It took a multi-step journey to transport the cats from Namibia, on the southwest coast of Africa, to central India. On Friday, Panthers flew from CCF to Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek, Namibia. Then they took a private jet to Jaipur, India. Finally, on Saturday, the cats were taken to Kono National Park and released into their new home.
“As a conservation activist, I am thrilled, and as the leader of the CCF, I am exceptionally proud of the work of the CCF Reintroduction Team,” CCF Founder and CEO Laurie Marker said in the statement. “Without the research and dedication to cheetah conservation, this project could not be carried out.”
Gala Yadvindradev, dean of the Wildlife Institute of India and lead scientist on the Indian Cheetah Project, said the project would benefit all of India – not just cheetahs.
“The return of a large predator restores the historical evolutionary balance, with cascading effects, resulting in better management and restoration of wildlife habitats, for the benefit of all species, and will raise the livelihoods of poor forest-dwelling communities,” Yadvendradev said in the statement. .
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