Home » India Explores Importing Cheetahs from Northern Africa to Address Climate Adaptation Challenges

India Explores Importing Cheetahs from Northern Africa to Address Climate Adaptation Challenges

by In-house Editor

India is contemplating the import of cheetahs from northern Africa in response to unexpected challenges faced during the management of these big cats in the country, according to officials. The primary concern arises from the development of a winter coat by some cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa during the Indian summer.

In the first year of managing cheetahs in India, officials encountered the unforeseen development of winter coats by certain cheetahs, a phenomenon not anticipated by African experts. The winter coat, combined with high humidity and temperatures, led to itching, prompting the animals to scratch their necks on tree trunks or the ground. This resulted in bruises, exposed skin, maggot infestations, and ultimately bacterial infections, causing the death of three cheetahs.

In response to these challenges, India is exploring the possibility of importing cheetahs from northern and northeastern Africa, which, being in the northern hemisphere, might be better suited to Indian conditions. The idea is under deliberation, with a need to assess the populations, health conditions, breeding cycles, and other factors in this part of Africa.

International experts, including those in the UK and the US, have successfully imported cheetahs from northern Africa, recommending a similar approach for India. While the import of cheetahs from northern Africa is being discussed, the next batch planned for import to India is expected to come from South Africa, according to SP Yadav, the head of Project Cheetah and Additional Director General (Forests) in the Environment Ministry.

The focus is on importing cheetahs that do not develop thicker winter coats, a key factor behind the severe infections and deaths observed in some of the animals. Historically, cheetahs were found in parts of northern Africa, but their populations have significantly declined, with the species considered extinct or nearly extinct in many northern African countries.

Currently, the few remaining cheetahs in northern Africa are primarily found in small and isolated populations, mainly in protected areas and national parks. The consideration of importing cheetahs from northern Africa reflects India’s commitment to addressing climate adaptation challenges and ensuring the well-being of these majestic big cats in their new habitat.

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