Pashu Sandesh, 08 August 2022
Indian Oil had signed an MoU with National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for the transcontinental relocation of ‘Cheetah’ in its historical range in India 0n 2nd August 2022. The MoU was signed by S.M. Vaidya, Chairman, Indian Oil and Dr S P Yadav, Addl. Director General (Project Tiger) and Member Secretary (NTCA) in the presence of Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Housing & Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Labour & Employment, Bhupender Yadav, MoS, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Ashwini Kumar Choubey and MoS, Petroleum & Natural Gas and Labour & Employment Rameswar Teli.
This is in continuation with the MoU signed on 20th July 2022 between the Government of India and the Government of the Republic of Namibia on wildlife conservation and sustainable biopersity utilization, for establishing the cheetah into the historical range in India. Indian Oil will be contributing Rs.50.22 crore in 4 years for the project components viz. Cheetah Introduction, its Habitat Management & Protection, Eco Development, Staff Training and Veterinary Healthcare.
Indian Oil is the first corporate which has come forward to support “Project Cheetah” under CSR, as the project has not only national importance but is also essential for balancing the ecosystem. Cheetah has a very special significance for the national conservation ethic and ethos. Understanding this, Indian Oil is aiding the cause of bringing the Cheetah back to India, which would have equally important conservation ramifications. Cheetah restoration will be part of a prototype for the restoration of original cheetah habitats and their bio-persity, helping to stem the degradation and rapid loss of bio-persity. This project is in sync with Indian Oil's strong environmental conscience and aligns with the company's focus on conserving India's natural habitat and heritage. It may be noted that Indian Oil adopted Indian Single Horned Rhino as its mascot last year and, since then, has been at the forefront of India's Rhino conservation endeavours.
Under this project, a source population of 8-10 Cheetahs will be flown in from Namibia and South Africa and will be introduced at Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh. It is a national project involving the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Govt. of India and the State Govt. of Madhya Pradesh.
NTCA is the nodal agency authorized by MoEF&CC for funding, supervision and hand holding. Indian Oil will contribute its CSR funds to NTCA, which shall coordinate with the State Govt. of Madhya Pradesh and other agencies involved in the project.
About ‘Project Cheetah’
‘Project Cheetah’ is a one-of-a-kind project in which a species is being restored in the country by bringing it from out of the country (from South Africa / Namibia). It is noteworthy that the subspecies of Cheetah which got extinct in India was Asiatic Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) and the subspecies being introduced back into the country is African Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). Research has shown that the genes of these two subspecies are the same.
The Cheetah introduction project in Kuno National Park involves creating a 500-hectare predator-proof enclosure for a ‘soft release of the feline. The introduction would commence in a phased manner with few indi-viduals after construction of the soft release enclosure and augmentation of protection, while other actions are underway. The first batch of Cheetah would be soft released in the enclosure with GPS / GSM or GPS / Satellite transmitters.