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Business News/ News / India/  The last cheetahs of India: A look at how last of lots were hunted | Watch unseen videos
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The last cheetahs of India: A look at how last of lots were hunted | Watch unseen videos

India's last three cheetahs were hunted by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo, King of Koriya (Chhattisgarh) in 1947.

Eight Namibian cheetahs will be brought back to Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh on SaturdayPremium
Eight Namibian cheetahs will be brought back to Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh on Saturday

It is a historic moment for India today as the land will again hear the growls and purrs of cheetahs after 70 years. The Central government is bringing back eight Namibian cheetahs to Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh on Saturday as part of Project Cheetah.

India brought five females and three male cheetahs from Namibia in a customized Boeing 747-700 jumbo aircraft. It is for the first time, big cats are being moved from one continent to another and being reintroduced to the forest. The Indian government plans introduction of 50 cheetahs in various parks over the next five years.

In the year 1952, the Jawarhal Lal Nehru government declared the world's fastest land animal extinct. The carnivorous were completely wiped out from the country due to their use for coursing, sports hunting, overhunting, and habitat loss. According to IFS Praveen Kaswan, the last three cheetahs were hunted by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo, King of Koriya (Chhattisgarh) in 1947. All three cheetahs were adults of similar measurements of 6 feet 4-5 inches, and all hunted at night.

The last recorded evidence of Cheetah in India, shot down in 1947, by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Koriya
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The last recorded evidence of Cheetah in India, shot down in 1947, by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Koriya

It is the last recorded evidence of a Cheetah in India who was shot dead in 1947.

Here's a look at how the cheetahs were hunted, maimed, and domesticated for hunting parties.

The historical record suggests cheetahs were in the least conflict with humans. Rather they were domesticated and used by hunting parties widely. Even some used to call them ‘hunting leopards’.

Not only cheetah but most charismatic animals were hunted in those days by kings and Britishers. Until the Wildlife Protection Act, of 1972 was passed it was very late. Cheetahs were already extinct in India.

IFS Praveen Kaswan shared a painting in which cheetahs were seen chained like dogs. According to Paswan, the paintings from 1878 are from Marriane North's book.

Cheetah's during colonial time: A painting from 1878 from Marriane North’s book. The scene is from Alwar, Rajasthan
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Cheetah's during colonial time: A painting from 1878 from Marriane North’s book. The scene is from Alwar, Rajasthan

In another picture shared by Kaswan, a cheetah was seen during the Prince of Wales's Tour of India in 1875-76.

Cheetahs picture: From the archives of Prince of Wales Tour of India in 1875-76
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Cheetahs picture: From the archives of Prince of Wales Tour of India in 1875-76

Another hunting cheetah in India from Prince of Wales visit in 1921-22. These cheetahs were used to catch antelopes. "These pictures are testimonials that if we don't pay attention to conservation what remains only is a picture," the IFS wrote.

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Published: 17 Sep 2022, 11:28 AM IST
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