Indian Oil Corporation will pay Rs 50 crore over four years, as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR), for a cheetah breeding project, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
As part of the project, a source population of 15 to 20 cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa will be brought to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.
Indian Oil signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in August this year for the transcontinental resettlement of cheetahs. The MoU was signed by Indian Oil Chairman SM Vaidya and SP Yadav, Additional Managing Director (Project Tiger) and Secretary Member of NTCA.
“The MoU between Indian Oil and NTCA demonstrates the nation’s resolve to nurture a greener, brighter and vibrant new India. I am sure that NTCA will steward this project in a mission mode. The Cheetah Introduction Project is in sync with our priority of conserving India’s natural habitat and heritage. Our mascot, the now famous Indian Oil Rhino, stands firm as a testimony to that commitment,” said Vaidya.
The Asiatic cheetah was declared extinct in India in 1952 and is a critically endangered species surviving only in Iran. In 1947, there were confirmed records of the cheetah’s presence in India, but the three surviving males were gunned down by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Surguja state in what is now Guru Ghasidas National Park in Chhattisgarh.
The Indian government has been attempting to reintroduce cheetahs in India since the 1960s and the 1970s, but over the past decade, these plans have gained more momentum.