The cheetahs are back; economy and ecology not in conflict: PM

Reminding the nation that the wheel of time rarely offers “a chance to rectify the past and build a new future” but “there is such a moment before us today”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released cheetahs from Namibia at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, 70 years after the cheetah was declared extinct in India.

At 11.25am, hours after eight cheetahs – five females and three males – landed in India, Modi, who turned 72 on Saturday, stood on a platform above two crates and opened their gates, releasing two cheetahs into a quarantine enclosure. He took photos as the cheetahs emerged into their new habitat.

In an address to the nation a little later, the prime minister asked people to be “patient” and wait a few months before visiting the park to see the cheetahs.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a cheetah into a special enclosure in Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh. (Photo PTI)

“Today these cheetahs came as guests and they don’t know this area. In order for these cheetahs to settle in Kuno National Park, we have to give them a few months. International guidelines are followed and l “India is doing its best to settle these cheetahs. We must not let our efforts fail.”

“Decades ago, an age-old bond of biodiversity was severed and extinguished. Today we have a chance to restore it. Today, cheetahs have returned to Indian soil. And I would also like to say that with these cheetahs, India’s nature-loving consciousness has also been powerfully awakened.

“I congratulate all compatriots on this historic occasion. In particular, I thank our friend Namibia and her government with whose cooperation the cheetahs have returned to Indian soil after several decades, he said.

“When we are far from our roots, we lose a lot. Therefore, we reiterated the importance of ‘paanch pranas’ (five commitments) like ‘being proud of our heritage’ and ‘breaking free from the mentality of slavery’ in this ‘Amrit Kaal’ of independence.

“We also saw the time when the exploitation of nature was seen as a symbol of power and modernity. When only the last three cheetahs remained in the country in 1947, they too were driven mercilessly and irresponsibly into the forests,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that we declared the country’s cheetahs extinct in 1952, but no significant effort has been made for decades to rehabilitate them. Now the country is committed to rehabilitating cheetahs with new energy in the ‘Amrit Kaal’ of independence,” he said.

Stressing that years of hard work had gone into this rehabilitation project, the Prime Minister said that the greatest energy had been expended on an area which was not given too much political importance.

“A detailed Cheetah Action Plan was prepared while our talented scientists conducted extensive research, working closely with South African and Namibian experts. Scientific surveys were conducted across the country to locate the most suitable area for cheetahs and then Kuno National Park was chosen. Today our hard work is ahead of us,” he said.

With the cheetahs now in Kuno National Park, the grassland ecosystem, he said, will be restored and this will also lead to an increase in biodiversity, and increase ecotourism and employment opportunities in the region.

He said that today when the world looks at nature and the environment, it talks about sustainable development. “For India, nature and the environment, its animals and birds, are not just a matter of sustainability and security, but the basis of the country’s sensibility and spirituality,” he said. declared.

A cheetah after being released into a special enclosure at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday September 17, 2022. (PTI Photo)

“We are taught to care for even the smallest creatures that live around us. Our traditions are such that if the life of a living being passes away for no reason, then we are filled with guilt. So how can we accept that the existence of an entire species is lost because of us? he said.

The prime minister said that today cheetahs are found in some countries in Africa and Iran. However, the name India was removed from this list a long time ago. “India of the 21st Century” gives a message to the whole world that economy and ecology are not contradictory fields.

“Today, on the one hand, we are among the fastest growing economies in the world. At the same time, the country’s forest areas are also expanding rapidly. Since the formation of our government in 2014, about 250 new protected areas have been added in the country. There has also been a big increase in the number of Asiatic lions here, and Gujarat has become a dominant sphere of Asiatic lions in the country. Decades of hard work, research-based policies and public involvement have a big role behind this,” he said, adding that the numbers of once endangered tigers, lions and one-horned rhinos critical extinction has increased, and the number of elephants has increased. increased to 30,000 in the country.

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The Prime Minister also interacted with Cheetah Mitras, Cheetah Rehabilitation Management Group and students on site. Madhya Pradesh Governor Mangubhai Patel, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Bhupender Yadav, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Ashwini Choubey were among those attending the occasion.

The introduction of the cheetah to India is under the Cheetah Project, the world’s first intercontinental large wild carnivore translocation project.

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