Funds for the MPs Cheetah project run out as Namibia delays on the MoU

Madhya Pradesh government is running short of funds for the world's first intercontinental cheetah translocation project . The project needs a constant supply of funds, and it will become difficult to keep up with it .

BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh government is running short of funds for the world's first intercontinental cheetah translocation project, which will take place in Kuno National Park.According to reports, the Namibian government is dilly dallying on signing the MoU, promising around Rs 50 crore to Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), a major contributor to the scheme.According to sources, the MP forest department has been collecting funds from the Tiger Foundation Society, which has so far been around Rs 8-10 crore, to keep the initiative going.They don't have much money to spare.

IOCL chairman S M Vaidya announced in January that they had partnered with the ministry of environment & forest and climate change to steer the Cheetah Introduction Project in Kuno.In India, the cheetah went extinct in 1952, and the numbers are on the decline in the rest of the world.I am thrilled that Indian Oil will be used to fund this crucial initiative that will strengthen the natural ecosystem and reclaim the country's lost natural heritage, he said.According to officers, IOCL agreed to give Rs 50 crore under the CSR program, but not until Namibia signs the deal, since the initiative wont take off without it.

According to another IFS officer involved with the project, God knows why they are on it.According to insiders, the process is taking a long time because the Namibian government is unable to accept the Indian government's modified MoU.Without this approval, cheetahs cannot be sent to India.According to reports, the Namibian government had sought India's help in overcoming the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Last week, donors visited Kuno and expressed joy with the work being done.The Kuno enclosure can hold up to ten to twelve cheetahs.According to an officer, the only thing that is difficult is where to keep the rest.The Centre, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) are yet to agree on a suitable location.

The Rajasthan government isn't in favour of taking the cheetahs from the Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve, which was rated as a perfect location for the introduction of cheetahs along with three other MP sites, including Kuno.Political figures in the United States are against cheetahs as they want it to be kept for tigers.The other two places in MP are Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary in Sagar, but these two locations have a small prey population.As of today, neither has a cheetah enclosure.

Maladies in MonsoonsThe Centre is planning to shift the cheetahs by August, but experts caution that it won't be easy during monsoons.Last season, raging floods tore through bridges.In fact, this was considered to be one of the reasons for the delay in the translocation program, since heavy machinery required to create the enclosure could not be transported to the site.During the rains this season, it will be a monumental task to carry out the project.

Qatar Airways has agreed to fly the cheetahs from Namibia to Delhi.It hasn't been decided how they will be transported the next 500 kilometers to their new home.