The first inter-continental reintroduction of a species is expected to take place within weeks when 12 cheetahs from South Africa will be flown to India on Sunday.
Asiatic cheetahs became extinct in India 70 years ago due to a combination of hunting, habitat loss and food scarcity.
The Southern African and Asiatic cheetahs are among the five subspecies of cheetahs. South Africa’s cheetahs – five males and seven females – are from several private game reserves. They are currently in quarantine to ensure good health.
Veterinary wildlife specialist at the University of Pretoria Professor Adrian Tordiffe says the animals that are currently in northern KwaZulu-Natal, three will be flown from there to Johannesburg, while concurrently transporting nine other animals from north of Pretoria to Johannesburg.
Tordiffe elaborates, “We not going to keep them anesthetised, they will be awake but relatively sleepy. We need to minimise the stress during transport, very much temperature controlled and there will be enough oxygen and everything for them. There will be two or three veterinarians who will be travelling with them to keep an eye on them during transfer, I will be going myself.”