Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Cheetah reintroduction


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: environment conservation



  • This is the world’s first intercontinental translocation of a carnivore. It is even more unique because this is the first time cheetahs has reintroduced in an unfenced protected area (PA).
  • The Government is preparing to translocate the first batch from South Africa and Namibia to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.

About Asiatic Cheetah

  • Feature: Cheetah, the world’s fastest land animal was declared extinct in India in 1952.
  • Status: The Asiatic cheetah is classified as a “critically endangered” species by the IUCN Red List, and is believed to survive only in Iran.
  • Reintroduction: It was expected to be re-introduced into the country after the Supreme Court lifted curbs for its re-introduction.
  • Extinction: From 400 in the 1990s, their numbers are estimated to have reached to 50-70 today, because of poaching, hunting of their main prey (gazelles) and encroachment on their habitat.



What caused the extinction of cheetahs in India?

  • Reduced fecundity and high infant mortality in the wild
  • Inability to breed in captivity
  • Sport hunting
  • Bounty killings


Why reintroduce Cheetahs?

  • Climate Change Mitigation: It will enhance India’s capacity to sequester carbon through ecosystem restoration activities in cheetah conservation areas and thereby contribute towards the global climate change mitigation goals.
  • Reintroductions of large carnivores have increasingly been recognized as a strategy to conserve threatened species and restore ecosystem functions.
  • The cheetah is the only large carnivore that has been extirpated, mainly by over-hunting in India in historical times.
  • India now has the economic ability to consider restoring its lost natural heritage for ethical as well as ecological reasons.

Why was Kuno National Park chosen for Cheetah Reintroduction?

  • Both Cheetah and Asiatic Lions share the same habitats semi-arid grasslands and forests that stretch across Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The rainfall, temperature, and altitude in the Sheopur district, where Kuno is situated, are equivalent to those of South Africa and Namibia.
  • In addition, Kuno contains a diverse population of prey species, including peafowl, wild pigs, gazelle, langurs, chital, sambhar, and nilgai.

What are the Other Recent Initiatives for Wildlife Conservation in India?

Legal Framework:

  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
  • Environment Protection Act, 1986
  • The Biological Diversity Act, 2002

India’s Collaboration with Global Wildlife Conservation Efforts:

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • Global Tiger Forum (GTF)

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