Namibian cheetah Aasha gives birth to 3 cubs in Kuno National Parks in Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur district.


  • The cheetah arrived in Kuno on September 17, 2022 in a crate marked “Aasha – The Hope”.
  • 20 cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa were relocated to Kuno National Park. Six have died since March 2023.
  • Last year, Namibian cheetah Jwala had given birth to four cubs. 
  • However, three of its cubs died in May due to extreme weather conditions.

Project Cheetah

  • The Cheetah Reintroduction Project was commenced on September 17, 2022, to reintroduce the population of cheetahs, which were declared extinct in the country in 1952.
  • The project involves the translocation of cheetahs from South Africa and Namibia to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The project was implemented by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in collaboration with the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, Wildlife Institute of India (WII), and cheetah experts from Namibia and South Africa. 


  • Cheetahs are the fastest land animals and can, in short sprints on open ground, reach speeds in excess of 100 kph.
  • The very name ‘Cheetah’ (Acinonyx Jubatus Venaticus) originates from Sanskrit and means ‘the spotted one’.
  • It is categorized as critically endangered.
  • Cheetahs live in open plains; their habitat is predominantly where their preys live – grasslands, scrubs and open forest systems, semi-arid environments and temperatures that tend to be hotter compared to cooler regimes.

Importance of Cheetah

  • Enrich Biodiversity: Cheetah restoration will be part of a prototype or model for restoration of original cheetah habitats and their biodiversity, helping to stem the degradation and rapid loss of biodiversity now underway. 
  • Less human Conflict: Among large carnivores, conflict with human interests are lowest for cheetahs, as they are not a threat to humans and usually do not attack large livestock. 

Balancing ecosystem: Bringing back a top predator restores historic evolutionary balance resulting in cascading effects on various levels of the ecosystems such as: 

  • Better management and restoration of wildlife habitat (grasslands, scrublands and open forest ecosystems), 
  • Conservation of cheetah’s prey and sympatric endangered species and 
  • A top-down effect of a large predator that enhances and maintains the diversity in lower trophic levels of the ecosystems.

Reason of decline of Cheetah

  • The main reasons for the decline of cheetah in India were large scale capture of animals from the wild for coursing, bounty and sport hunting, extensive habitat conversion along with consequent decline in prey base. 
  • The last cheetahs in the wild were recorded in 1948 where three cheetahs were shot in the Sal (Shorea robusta) forests of Koriya District, Chhattisgarh State with a few sporadic reports from central and Deccan regions till mid 1970’s

Kuno National Park (KNP)

  • It is situated in the Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur district, nestled near the Vindhyan Hills.
  • KNP is named after the Kuno River (one of the main tributaries of the Chambal River) that cuts across it.
  • Initially established as a wildlife sanctuary, it was only in 2018 that the government changed its status into a national park.

It was selected under ‘Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India’. 

  • This is because of its suitable habitat and adequate prey base. KNP is 748 sq. km. in area, devoid of human settlements, forms part of Sheopur-Shivpuri deciduous open forest landscape and is estimated to have a capacity to sustain 21 cheetahs.

Vegetation Cover: The vegetation in the park varies from tropical dry deciduous forest to savannah grasslands. 

  • Topography: It is characterized by rocky hills, ravines, and plateaus.
  • Important Flora: Kardhai, Salai, and Khair trees dominate the forested area.
  • Fauna: The protected area of the forest is home to the jungle cat, Indian leopard, sloth bear, Indian wolf, striped hyena, golden jackal, Bengal fox, and dhole, along with more than 120 bird species.

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