‘Just cruelty, appalling’: Varun Gandhi reacts as Centre plans to import more cheetahs
BJP MP Varun Gandhi criticises government's plan to import cheetahs, emphasising the need to protect Indian species instead.
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Varun Gandhi on Saturday said India should focus on conserving its own endangered species and habitats as the central government plans to import more cheetahs from South Africa.
Gandhi expressed his dismay on social media platform X, saying, “Importing cheetahs from Africa and allowing nine of them to die in a foreign land is not just cruelty, it's an appalling display of negligence.”
India's import plans for cheetahs specifically focus on those that do not develop thicker winter coats, as this has been a key factor in severe infections and the death of three cheetahs, news agency PTI reported citing the head of the reintroduction project SP Yadav.
The upcoming batch of cheetahs is slated to be introduced into Madhya Pradesh's Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary by year-end.
Gandhi urged the government to shift its attention towards safeguarding "our own endangered species and habitats" instead of contributing to the plight of these creatures.
"This reckless pursuit of exotic animals must end immediately, and we should prioritise the welfare of our native wildlife instead,” the Lok Sabha member from Pilibhit added.
Project Cheetah to complete one year on Sunday
Project Cheetah, India's ambitious initiative to reintroduce cheetahs following their extinction in the country, marks its first anniversary on Sunday. The project commenced on September 17 last year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a group of cheetahs brought from Namibia into an enclosure at Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park.
Twenty cheetahs were imported from Namibia and South Africa to Kuno in two batches, one in September last year and the second in February. However, since March, six of these adult cheetahs have succumbed to various causes, with three of the four cubs born to a female Namibian cheetah perishing due to extreme heat in May.
The remaining cub is being nurtured under human care with plans for future reintroduction into the wild.
(Inputs from PTI)