The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has chalked out a plan to bring the Cheetah from Africa pending clearance from the Supreme Court, an NTCA official said.
The Cheetah, a large cat of the sub-family Felinae, which runs at the speed of 110 to 120 km per hour, is now extinct in India, Dr Debabrata Swain, member secretary of NTCA, said while addressing the state level celebration of world wildlife day here yesterday.
"The NTCA now attempts to re-introduce the Cheetah in Madhya Pradesh forests. All arrangements have been made to bring the Cheetah from Africa," Swain said adding that of the six different species of big cats, five were seen in India except the Cheetah.
The Cheetah is found in southern, north and east Africa and a few localities in Iran.
Replying to a question, Swain said that the NTCA was waiting for a judgement from the Supreme Court before bringing the Cheetah from Africa. "The Apex court has been hearing a petition which opposes re-introduction of the Cheetah in India," Swain said.
This apart, Swain said to increase the population of big cats in Odisha, a proposal was mooted to expand the territory of the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) with the inclusion of the Hadgarh and the Kuldhia sanctuaries area.
He said that the NTCA had already initiated several plans for the protection and conservation of the Royal Bengal Tigers.
Out of 3,800 big cats alive across the globe, 2,226 tigers were counted in different sanctuaries and tiger reserves in India, he said. Swain said that the Similipal Tiger Reserve which had 26 big cats required the utmost attention to prevent poaching, mass-hunting with the cooperation of local villagers.
The population of deer and wild boar also dwindled coupled with the disappearance of bamboo plants inside the tiger habitats, he said.
NTCA is committed to protect and increase the population of the big cats in 50 tiger reserves for which annually Rs 350 crore are being spent, Swain said.
Besides, the Special Tiger Reserve Force watch is being deployed in 13 tiger reserves in the country to improve the tiger monitoring system with the aid of mobile app system, Swain said.