Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary: India’s New Cheetah Habitat


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Cheetah Reintroduction in India, Gandhi Sagar WLS

Why in the News?

  • Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary will become the second home for cheetahs in India, after Kuno National Park. The final decision on importing cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa will be made after the monsoon season to avoid infection risks.

Cheetah Reintroduction in India:

  • In India, cheetahs disappeared in the early 1950s due to hunting and the loss of their habitat.
  • The ‘Action Plan for Reintroduction of Cheetah in India /Project Cheetah (2022)’ aims to bring cheetahs from African countries to various national parks.
  • It is spearheaded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • Recently, cheetahs from Namibia were reintroduced in Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh.

About Cheetah:

  • The cheetah is a fast-running big cat native to Africa and central Iran, capable of speeds up to 80 to 128 km/h.
  • They live in various habitats like savannahs, arid mountains, and hilly deserts.
  • Cheetahs live in three main groups: females with cubs, male coalitions, and solitary males.
  • They hunt during the day, preferring dawn and dusk.
  • The global cheetah population was 6,500 mature individuals, according to the most recent IUCN assessment in 2021.
  • They are listed as VULNERABLE by the IUCN.
  • The Asiatic Cheetah is one of the five subspecies of cheetah, critically endangered and found only in Iran.


About Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Located in western Madhya Pradesh, Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of 368.62 sq km.
  • It spans the Mandsaur (187.12 sq km) and Neemuch (181.5 sq km) districts, bordering Rajasthan.
  • Situated on a flat rocky plateau characterized by shallow topsoil and exposed sheetrock.
  • It is divided by the Chambal River, with the Gandhi Sagar dam and reservoir within its boundaries.
  • Flora and Fauna:
    • Flora: The sanctuary features a savannah ecosystem with open grasslands interspersed with dry deciduous trees. Riverine valleys within the sanctuary support evergreen vegetation.
    • Fauna: The sanctuary is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including species like leopards, sloth bears, striped hyenas, grey wolves, golden jackals, jungle cats, Indian foxes, and marsh crocodiles.

Habitat Suitability for Cheetahs

  • Officials cite Gandhi Sagar as having an ideal habitat parallel to Maasai Mara (a National Park) in Kenya, suitable for cheetahs.
  • Plans include expanding the cheetah habitat to around 2,000 sq km, contingent upon cooperation with Rajasthan’s Bhainsrodgarh sanctuary.


[2024]  Consider the following statements:

1. Lions do not have a particular breeding season.

2. Unlike most other big cats, cheetahs do not roar.

3. Unlike male lions, male leopards do not proclaim their territory by scent marking.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

[2012]  Consider the following: (2012)

  1. Black-necked crane
  2. Cheetah
  3. Flying squirrel
  4. Snow leopard

Which of the above are naturally found in India?

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 1, 3 and 4 only
(c) 2 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch