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Wild cheetah sightings in India for the first time in over 70 years

Indian officials said it was the first time in 70 years that a wild cheetah had been spotted.

Indian officials said it was the first time in 70 years that a wild cheetah had been spotted.

Screengrab from Kuno National Park

A cheetah was recently spotted roaming the wild in India for the first time in over seven decades, officials said.

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The sighting comes on the heels of a species reintroduction effort spearheaded by the Indian government.

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The spotted cats once prowled the Indian subcontinent, but they were decimated by hunters and habitat loss, among other factors, and were declared extinct in 1952, according to a statement from the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

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But, a recent plan drawn up by the Indian government stipulated that 10 to 12 cheetahs will be transported to India from African countries every year for at least five years.

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As part of the plan, eight cheetahs were shipped over from Namibia in September, and 12 more were shipped from South Africa in February, officials said.

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The cats were placed in large, ventilated boxes and airlifted via planes and helicopters to Kuno National Park, a wildlife sanctuary in central India.

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And now, for the first time in 70 years, one of the animals was photographed wandering through the open forest, according to a March 21 statement from Kuno National Park.

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The photo was snapped by a park official who is tasked with monitoring the big cats, according to India Today.

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After a period of quarantine, the animals will be let loose in a larger enclosure, according to the outlet.

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The government is hopeful that the rewilding effort will be a success, officials said. It is backed by a team of international experts, veterinarians and scientists.

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Google Translate was used to translate the statement from Kuno National Park.

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https://www.bnd.com/news/nation-world/world/article273428905.html Wild cheetah sightings in India for the first time in over 70 years

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