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Cheetahs to move to bigger enclosure in Kuno park in Nov

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Bhopal, Oct 31: The eight cheetahs flown to Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park (KNP) from Namibia in mid-September will be moved to an acclimatization enclosure in November before being released in the wild, a member of the Centre's task force on the big cats said on Monday.

The task force formed to monitor the cheetahs in KNP in Sheopur district and take a call on their shifting from quarantine zones to a larger enclosure spread over an area of more than five square km held a meeting on Monday.

Cheetah

At the meeting, it was decided that the spotted cats from the African country will be shifted to the acclimatization 'boma' (enclosure) in November, the task force member told PTI on condition of anonymity.

He said the cheetahs will be released in a phased manner in the acclimatization enclosure and added the task force took the decision after lengthy discussions.

He said two members of the Centre-appointed body could not attend the meeting due to unavoidable reasons.

Earlier meetings had remained inconclusive on shifting of the cheetahs, now housed in quarantine zones. The previous meeting was held on October 27 in KNP.

According to initial plans, the cheetahs, the world's fastest land animal, were to be kept in quarantine for a month.

As per international norms, wild animals before and after their translocation to another country have to be in quarantine for a month to check the spread of any infection, experts have said.

The task force was set up on September 20 to monitor the introduction of cheetahs in KNP and other designated areas by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

Meanwhile, the eight cheetahs - five females and three males in the 30-66 month age group and named Freddy, Alton, Savannah, Sasha, Obaan, Asha, Cibili and Saisa - were fine in their new home, officials said.

They are currently housed in six 'bomas', two of which are 50 metres into 30 metres, and four are 25 square metres in area, and are being reared on a diet of buffalo meat, they said.

The cheetahs were reintroduced in KNP on September 17 at a function by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, heralding the return of the big cats to India 70 years after they were declared extinct in the country.

The last cheetah died in India in Koriya district in present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947, and the species was declared extinct in 1952.

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