New Delhi: Keen to reintroduce the Cheetah
in the country, the Environment Ministry has sought a detailed
roadmap for the move, NGO Wildlife Trust of India said on Wednesday.
According to a statement from WTI, Environment
Minister Jairam Ramesh conveyed the decision in a letter to M
K Ranjitsinh, Chairman, WTI, who heads the project.
The minister approved the recommendation for a
detailed survey of potential reintroduction sites in four
states, shortlisted during the Gajner consultative meeting
held last month.
"The survey will ascertain which of these sites are
most suitable for this endeavour as well as what needs to be
done in each of them in preparation for the return of the
Cheetah," said Ranjitsinh in a statement.
The survey, that will form the basis for the roadmap,
will be carried out by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII),
Dehradun, in collaboration with the WTI, the Bombay Natural
History Society (BNHS) and the concerned state governments.
"We have been given a mandate to prepare this roadmap
in four months. The return of the Cheetah would make India the
only country in the world to host six of the world`s eight
large cats and the only one to have all the large cats of
Asia," he added.
"The effort would also ensure conservation action in
Cheetah habitats in India, which so far, has been severely
lacking," said Ranjitsinh.
During the meeting seven of the most promising sites in
Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh were shortlisted for
extensive analyses to examine their suitability for cheetah
The experts had favoured Cheetah from Africa for
proposed reintroduction as against the Iranian cheetah.
International experts including Laurie Marker, credited
with developing cheetah conservation programmes in a number of
countries, including Iran, had argued that the Iranian cheetah
population is abysmally low to spare individuals for
reintroduction in India.
Stephen J O’Brien, world`s leading conservation
geneticist and Chief of the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity at
the National Cancer Institute (NCI), USA, had clarified that
there was no significant genetic difference between the
African and the Iranian cheetah.