23 May 2024

Madhya Pradesh: Will Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary be New Home of Cheetahs After Kuno? Kenyan Experts Visit, See Details

Preparations to reintroduce cheetahs into Madhya Pradesh's Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary under the Government of India’s Cheetah Restoration Scheme are nearing completion. If deemed sufficient, cheetahs will soon be seen roaming the sanctuary.

A six-member expert team from Kenya recently visited Gandhi Sagar to evaluate the preparations. They inspected the 6400-hectare enclosures, quarantine facilities, high mast cameras, water source monitoring sites, and treatment centers.

Gandhi Sagar and Kuno management presented their preparations and explained the Cheetah Project to the Kenyan experts.

Experts from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, and the National Tiger Conservation Authority briefed the team on the equipment and technology used for wildlife monitoring in India.

South African team had visited in April

Previously, a South African team had visited in April and provided suggestions to the Forest Department. 

MoU Signed with South Africa and Namibia

India has already signed MoUs with South Africa and Namibia for the reintroduction of cheetahs, which are extinct in India. The Kenyan team is also visiting selected sites to potentially collaborate on future cheetah restoration efforts under the Cheetah Project, further strengthening India’s conservation initiatives.

Almost all preparations are complete: Official

Rajesh Mandwaria, Superintendent of Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary, stated that the Kenyan team inspected the preparations over two days. He confirmed that almost all preparations are complete, and cheetahs may soon be introduced to Gandhi Sagar.

Sanctuary is rich in flora and fauna

Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary is situated on the northern boundary of Mandsaur and Neemuch districts in Madhya Pradesh. It is spread over an area of 368.62 km2 adjoining Rajasthan state.

With a varied terrain of wooded hills – the forest being dry, mixed and deciduous- and flat grasslands around Gandhi Sagar dam submergence, it offers abundant opportunities of sighting a variety of wildlife. The principal tree species found in the Sanctuary are Khair (Acacia catechu), Salai, Kardhai, Dhawda, Tendu, Palash etc.

The predominant animal species that inhabit the sanctuary are the deer, of which the most easily sighted are the chinkara or Indian gazelle, Nilgai and sambar. In addition the Indian leopard, langur, Indian wild dog, peacock, otter, and Mugger crocodile are present.

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