A second batch of 12 cheetahs is likely to arrive in India from South Africa in January, sources said on Tuesday.
Discussions with South African authorities to translocate 12 cheetahs to Kuno National Park are at an advanced stage and the animals are likely to arrive in January, a Union Environment ministry source said.
Officials from the Kuno National Park gave a presentation on the preparedness for the introduction of the 12 cheetahs, comprising seven males and five females, at the 20th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) at the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka. The cheetahs have been in quarantine in South Africa for the last six months. A memorandum of understanding for the intercontinental transfer of the spotted felines is yet to be signed, the sources said.
According to the 'Action Plan for Reintroduction of Cheetah in India' prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India, around 12-14 wild cheetahs (8-10 males and 4-6 females) that are ideal for establishing a new cheetah population would be imported from South Africa, Namibia and other African countries as a founder stock for five years initially and then as required by the programme.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had released the first batch of eight cheetahs -- five females and three males -- from Namibia into a quarantine enclosure at the Kuno National Park on his 72nd birthday on September 17.
Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey informed Parliament last month that all the eight cheetahs had been released into larger acclimatisation enclosures and none of them were under quarantine.
No health complications have been reported in the introduced cheetahs, he had said.
The cheetah has come back to India 70 years after the species was declared extinct in the country in 1952.
The large carnivore was completely wiped out due to over-hunting and habitat loss.