Gujarat looking at return of Asiatic cheetah


Gandhinagar: Gujarat is willing to examine the remote possibility of the almost extinct Asiatic cheetah being reintroduced into its old home in the state, an official said Tuesday.

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Pradeep Khanna, principal chief conservator of forests, while admitting in reply to a question that the possibility was remote, was nevertheless willing to examine the feasibility of such a move.

“Like Gujarat is the sole abode of the Asiatic lion in the world, Iran is the only place where the Asiatic cheetah now survives. And it is critically endangered with less than 100 of them left,” he added.

Khanna said that the chances of Iran agreeing to part with any of its specimen of this carnivore were very remote. “We have four of the African variety in the Sakkarbaug zoo in Junagadh but have had no success in breeding them in captivity,” he added.

Khanna said that for the very reason that the state was opposed to parting with the Asiatic lions for the proposed Kuno-Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

“While lions would never thrive in the proposed Madhya Pradesh sanctuary, we would like to study and survey, even involve the wildlife institute in it before arriving at some conclusion on a tiger reserve. Dangs in Gujarat was tiger country but these animals perished over time,” he said.

“So we need to address the reasons that caused their disappearance and remove them before we initiate any move afresh to bring them back,” he added.