SC allows govt to bring African cheetah to suitable wildlife habitat in India- THE HINDU-29-01-2020
• Supreme Court(SC) has allowed the govt. to introduce African Cheetah in a suitable wildlife habitat in India including Kuno-Palpur (Kuno National Park) in Madhya Pradesh.
• The decision was taken after a petition was filed by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to introduce the African Cheetah from Namibia as the rare Indian Cheetah has become almost extinct in India.
• 3-member panel:
A 3-member committee was set up to take a decision on this issue. The committee comprised of former Director of Wildlife Trust of India(WTI) Shri Ranjit Singh; Director General(DG) of Wildlife of India Shri Dhananjay Mohan; and Deputy Inspector General(DIG), Wildlife under the Ministry of Environment and Forests(MoE&F).
• Report submission:
• According to a bench comprised by Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, the court will monitor the project where its committee will have to submit its report every 4 months.
• Following a favourable view from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the Supreme Court has lifted its seven-year stay on a proposal to introduce African cheetahs from Namibia into the Indian habitat on an experimental basis.
• The hearing came on an application filed by the NTCA.
• The court has asked for the right precautions to be taken during the process and ensure every effort is taken to ensure that the re-introduction is a success.
• The court has called for a proper survey to be done to identify the best possible habitat for the cheetahs.
• The SC has set up a three-member committee, to guide the NTCA in the implementation of the re-introduction programme. The Committee will have to file a progress report every four months on the progress made. The committee would help, advice and monitor the NTCA in the programme.
• The possible gains from introducing the cheetah in India include:
• The move would boost wildlife tourism in the region. This would provide impetus to the development of the surrounding regions.
• The introduction of cheetahs could lead to the improvement of grasslands. They could help control the population of the herbivores in the region.
• The success of the initiative would help bring global recognition for India for having been able to successfully revive the Cheetah in India.
• The lessons learned in the implementation of the programme could help guide similar efforts in the re-introduction of other species.
• Given the fact that cheetahs do not breed well in captivity and require vast stretches of grassland and access to adequate prey to thrive, officials at the NTCA feel that the actual process of translocation and its success might be a long-drawn effort.