Home/ News / India/  Govt sets up high-level panel to oversee cheetah project

New Delhi: National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has constituted an 11-member Cheetah Project Steering Committee and appointed Rajesh Gopal, secretary general of Global Tiger Forum, as its chairman, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said in a statement on Friday.

The decision was taken after six cheetahs, who were brought as part of the translocation project, died in the last two months.

The other 10 members include RN Mehrotra, former principal chief conservator of forest of Rajasthan; PR Sinha, former director of the Wildlife Institute of India; HS Negi, former APCCF, Wildlife; and PK Malik, former faculty at WII.

GS Rawat, former dean of the WII; Mittal Patel, an Ahmedabad-based social worker; Qamar Qureshi, WII scientist and Inspector General of NTCA; and the MP’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Wildlife, and Chief Wildlife Warden are the other members.

A consulting panel of international cheetah experts, including Adrian Tordiffe, Veterinary Wildlife Specialist, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Laurie Marker, Cheetah Conservation Fund, Namibia; Andrew John Fraser, Farm Olivenbosch, South Africa and Vincent van dan Merwe, Manager, Cheetah Metapopulation Project, South Africa, will provide advice as an when required.

The ministry said the high-level committee has been set up “to review, progress, monitor and (give) advice on the cheetah introduction" to the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department and the NTCA .

It will provide suggestions on the opening of the cheetah habitat for eco-tourism and on regulations in this regard.

The panel, which will be in-force for two years and will hold at least one meeting every month, will also provide suggestions on community interface and for their involvement in project activities.

“The steering committee shall be in force for a period of two years and will hold at least one meeting every month, besides taking field visits as and when required," the ministry said.

The task force will be responsible for providing suggestions on the “community interface and for their involvement in the project activities".

“Panel of International cheetah experts shall be consulted for advice or invited to India as per specific requirement," it added.

Under the ambitious reintroduction programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the first batch of eight spotted felines from Namibia into a quarantine enclosure at Kuno on his 72nd birthday on September 17 last year.

In a second such translocation, 12 cheetahs were flown in from South Africa and released into Kuno on February 18.

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Updated: 26 May 2023, 10:20 PM IST
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