India inks pact with Namibia for reintroduction of Cheetahs

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Some cheetahs will be brought to India before August 15 on a special flight and will then be relocated to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary.

New Delhi: India and Namibia on Wednesday signed an agreement on Wildlife Conservation and Sustainable Biodiversity Utilization. This agreement will pave the way for the reintroduction of cheetahs into India’s wildlife. Under the agreement, India is expected to get a dozen of cheetahs from Namibia. It is the first pact signed anywhere in the world for the transcontinental transfer of such large numbers of carnivorous animals.

The agreement was signed between Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav and Namibia’s Foreign Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah. “Happy to share that India has signed a historic MoU with Namibia to promote Wildlife Conservation and Sustainable Biodiversity Utilization. The MoU seeks to promote conservation and restoration of cheetah in their former range from which the species went extinct”, tweeted Union Environment minister Bhupendra Yadav.

Ndaitwah is on a visit to India for the India-Africa conclave. The agreement would promote sharing of good practices in technological applications and livelihood generations for local communities living in wildlife habitats. The agreement will also facilitate the exchange of personnel for training and education in wildlife management, especially in areas of smart patrol, population estimation techniques, and surveillance and monitoring.

Taking to Twitter, EAM Jaishankar said, “Agreements signed today on the reintroduction of Cheetahs and Forensic Sciences cooperation were notable”. High Commissioner of India to Namibia, Prashant Agarwal said, “The high commission of India has been privileged to facilitate this agreement, which would also enable the transfer of a few Cheetahs from Namibia for introduction back into India’s wilds. Cheetah is the only large carnivore that has gone extinct in India post its independence, and their introduction back has a special significance as India marks its -75th Independence anniversary this year”.

“This unique intercontinental trans-location would be the first-of-its-kind project ever and therefore has global attention. It will reaffirm our shared commitment to conservation. These Cheetahs would be the goodwill ambassadors of Namibia, and this friendly gesture on part of Namibia is deeply appreciated by the people of India”, he added. He further thanked the Namibian authorities for their support.

In 1952, the Indian government officially declared the Cheetah extinct in the country. According to sources, some Cheetahs will be brought to India before August 15 on a special flight and will then be relocated to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary. India is also in touch with South Africa to get another batch of Cheetahs.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Namibia Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah also attended the 17th CII EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Growth Partnership and held bilateral talks with India.

During the visit, the Deputy Prime Minister met with the Vice President of India. She also had extensive talks and bilateral discussions with the External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, and Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav.

The visiting DPM delivered her address at the inaugural of the CII Exim Bank Conclave on 19 July. On the sidelines of the conclave, a country session on doing business with Namibia was also held on 20 July where prominent business houses and persons were present.

She also had business meetings covering several sectors of the economy including small industries, renewable energy, agricultural equipment and technology, startups, and vaccine manufacturing among others. Her visit is expected to give a strong fillip to the bilateral relations between the two countries.

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