NEW DELHI: Soon after the central government announced the plans to import more cheetahs from South Africa, BJP MP Varun Gandhi, yet once again, strongly criticized his own party and the Centre. He condemned the idea and expressed his belief saying that India should prioritize the conservation of its own endangered species and habitats.
Gandhi’s comments come in the wake of a series of cheetah deaths in Madhya Pradesh‘s Kuno National Park within a span of five months.
, shared that the next batch of cheetahs would be imported from South Africa and introduced into Madhya Pradesh’s Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, expected to be ready to accommodate these spotted felines by year-end.
The initial group of cheetahs, brought from Namibia, was released into Kuno National Park by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 17 last year, making Sunday the first anniversary of Project Cheetah.
Taking to X (formerly Twitter), Gandhi shared a report about the upcoming batch of cheetahs and stated, “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. We should focus on conserving our own endangered species and habitats rather than contributing to the suffering of these magnificent creatures.”
His post emphasized, “This reckless pursuit of exotic animals must end immediately, and we should prioritise the welfare of our native wildlife instead.”
Meanwhile, Congress leader
mocked the announcement and said, “After the wildly successful project of Cheetas from Namibia (9 dead already)lo & behold Cheetas from South Africa (sic).”
Cartoonist Satish Acharya urged the government to “spare the cheetahs”, a sentiment echoed by many X users.
Twenty cheetahs were imported from Namibia and South Africa to Kuno in two batches, one in September last year and the other in February. Since March, six of these adult cheetahs have died due to various reasons. In May, three of the four cubs born to a female Namibian cheetah succumbed to extreme heat, with the remaining cub being raised under human care for eventual reintroduction into the wild.
(With input from agencies)