The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has constituted a task force for monitoring cheetah’s introduction in Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh, and other suitable designated areas.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) would facilitate the working of the Cheetah task force and render all necessary help.
The task force will come into force for a period of two years and may appoint a subcommittee to regularly visit the cheetah introduction area as and when decided by them.
Officials said that cheetah restoration is part of a prototype or model for restoration of original cheetah habitats and their biodiversity. This will help to stem the degradation and rapid loss of biodiversity.
Bringing back a top predator restores historic evolutionary balance resulting in cascading effects on various levels of the ecosystem. Bringing the cheetah back is expected to have important conservation ramifications.
The task force has been constituted to review, progress and monitor the health status of cheetah, upkeep of the quarantine and soft release enclosures, protection status of entire area, adherence to the defined protocols by forest and veterinary officials and advice on cheetah introduction in India to the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department and NTCA on status of cheetah with respect to overall health, behaviour and their upkeep.
It will also monitor hunting skills and adaptation of cheetahs to the habitat of Kuno National Park and release of cheetah from quarantine bomas to soft release enclosures and then to grassland and open forest areas.
It will open cheetah habitat for eco-tourism and suggest regulations in this regard and will also suggest and advise on development of tourism infrastructure in the fringe areas of Kuno National Park and other protected areas.
The task force comprises nine officials, including Principal Secretary (Forests), Principal Secretary (Tourism), Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden, (Retd) Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden — all from Madhya Pradesh and few other officials.