From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Asiatic Cheetah
Mains level : Wildlife re-introduction Program
Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh was all prepped to welcome the African cheetahs — a project that has been a decade in the making — this year. The project has now been postponed, as the new coronavirus variant of concern omicron prompted travel restrictions.
Confused over Leopard and Cheetah?
The most common difference between these two animals is the patterns on their coat. At first glance, it may look like they both have spots, but in actual fact, a leopard has rosettes which are rose-like markings, and cheetahs have a solid round or oval spot shape.
About Asiatic Cheetah
- Cheetah, the world’s fastest land animal was declared extinct in India in 1952.
- The Asiatic cheetah is classified as a “critically endangered” species by the IUCN Red List, and is believed to survive only in Iran.
- It was expected to be re-introduced into the country after the Supreme Court lifted curbs for its re-introduction.
- 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.
Why reintroduce Cheetahs?
- 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 the project halted?
- The court was worried whether the African cheetahs would find the sanctuary a favorable climate as far as the abundance of prey is concerned.
- Those who challenged the plan argued that the habitat of cheetahs needed to support a genetically viable population.
Try this PYQ:
Q. Consider the following:
1. Black necked crane
3. Flying squirrel
4. Snow leopard
Which of the above are naturally found in India?
(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(c) 2 and 4 only
(b) 1, 3 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
Post your answers here: