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As India welcomes 8 Cheetahs from Namibia, 'Abdullah', 'Hiba' too make news

Abdullah and Hiba, two Cheetahs suddenly made the headlines on the day India received eight cats from Namibia. Read More

Saturday September 17, 2022 8:40 PM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

As India welcomes 8 Cheetahs from Namibia, 'Abdullah', 'Hiba' make news

[Abdullah, one of the two Cheetahs gifted to India by Saudi Arabia, is at Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad.]

Hyderabad: Abdullah and Hiba, two Cheetahs suddenly made the headlines on the day India received eight cats from Namibia.

Abdullah - a male Cheetah, and Hiba - a female Cheetah, were gifted to India by Saudi Arabia a decade ago and were housed at Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad.

Cheetahs were declared extinct in India about 70 years ago in 1952. They were in news ever since it was reported that special planes carrying eight Cheetahs - five females and three males, aged between two and six years, has arrived in India.

The Cheetahs were released into Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park Saturday September 17, 2022 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of the programme to reintroduce the feline in India.

To mark the occasion, the Nehru Zoological Park of Hyderabad organised a rally. It was then that people came to know about the Cheetahs gifted to India by Saudi Arabia.


According to the Nehru Zoological Park, Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Saud Bin Mohammed Al Saud had gifted two pairs of African lions and cheetahs to India during his visit to the Zoo on the occasion of CoP11 Summit 2012 held in Hyderabad,

The zoo had received the animals from the National Wildlife Research Centre of Saudi Arabia in 2013. The female Cheetah died two years ago while the male cheetah, named Abdullah, is housed in the zoo.

Hiba, the female Cheetah, died in 2020 at the age of eight. She was diagnosed with paraplegia.


The rally was organised in collaboration with Tejaswi Vidyaranya School, Jedimetla, Rangareddy district in which about 190 students participated.

The students also took part in events like talk shows, drawing, painting and essay writing competitions. Talk show on cheetahs was conducted at the cheetah enclosure.

The programme was organised as part of Telangana National Integration Day celebrations. S.Rajashekar, Curator, Nehru Zoological Park, hoisted the national flag in the presence of the entire zoo staff.


[One of the eight Cheetahs who arrived from Namibia released into Kuno National Park of Madhya Pradesh.]

Meanwhile, the Cheetahs from Namibia will be living under an earmarked area of KNP for two weeks after which they will be released in the park.

According to a senior forest officer in Madhya Pradesh:

"Cheetahs will be living in an earmarked area under KNP for two weeks. Once they will adapt to the climate of this area, they will be released into the park."

All cheetahs have special radio-collar fitted to their necks so that their movement can be easily located. Their health and movement will be monitored every day by a special joint team of African and Indian wild animals experts," the senior forest officer added.

Cheetah plane

Spread over 748 square km in the vast forest landscape of Madhya Pradesh, KNP is the new home of the eight cheetahs. Notably, the region is very close to the Sal forests of Koriya in Chhattisgarh, where the native Asiatic Cheetah was last spotted almost 70 years ago.

As per the forest officials in Madhya Pradesh, KNP was chosen as suitable destination for cheetahs after a survey of nearly a dozen national parks located in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh.

"These surveys were carried between 2010 and 2012. Later, it was observed that Kuno was the suitable destination. It was the most preferred habitat based on the assessment carried out by the Wildlife Institute of India and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) based on climatic variables, prey densities, population of competing predators, and the historical range," the officer said.

Kuno is probably one of the few wildlife sites in the country where there has been a complete relocation of roughly 24 villages and their domesticated livestock from inside the park years ago. The village sites and their agricultural fields have now been taken over by grasses and are managed as savannah habitats.

According to the government's plan, Kuno offers the prospect of housing four large felines in India -- tiger, lion, leopard and cheetah -- and ensuring they coexist as they did in the past. While the only surviving population of lions is in Gujarat, Kuno was initially proposed to provide a second home.

The forest has a significant population of leopards with a density of about nine leopards per 100 square km. This remains a concern, taking into account, that the much-stronger leopard has an advantage over the slender cheetah, whose strength mainly lies in its blazingly fast speed. They are also believed to have more adaptive potential and a wider habitat than the cheetah.


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