With the arrival of African cheetahs in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park has begun the process of their re-introduction, around 70 years after they went extinct in India. Concerns have been raised about whether the big cats can settle in and survive in the Indian landscape.
- One way the government is trying to smoothen the settling in of the cheetahs is through the medium of “cheetah mitras” or ‘cheetah friends’.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- Who are the cheetah mitras?
- What is their role?
Who are the cheetah mitras?
- Cheetah mitras have mainly been involved by the government to familiarise the local populations with the big cats and minimise potential conflicts.
- As the cheetahs have been brought to Kuno, the nearby villages might be unaware of the changes that can come about with the new animal being introduced.
- To make the local population understand more about the cheetah and its characteristics, forest officials have trained around 400 cheetah mitras from 51 villages, including school teachers, village headmen and patwaris
What is their role?
- They explain they will take care that the animal does not move outside the park and into the villages, and alert officials if need be, adding that there is a bigger threat to cheetahs from humans than the other way round. Along with informing the villagers, keeping the big cats safe from poachers will be an important task.
- Hunting was why the Asiatic cheetah went extinct in India in 1952, and to protect the cheetahs today, two drone squads have been readied, five watch towers with CCTV cameras have been put up and at least 24 retired military personnel have been hired.
-Source: Indian Express