Indian Oil Corporation to give Rs 50 crore for Cheetah relocation from Africa

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The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) signed Tuesday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Oil Corporation for the trans-continental relocation of cheetahs from Africa to India. The IOC will contribute Rs 50.22 crore over four years for the project, according to the MoU. The total cost of the project is currently Rs 75 crore.

A statement from the Union environment ministry said that the MoU is in continuation with the one signed on July 20 between the Indian and Namibian governments on wildlife conservation and sustainable biodiversity utilisation for establishing the cheetah into the historical range in India.

The funds provided by Indian Oil as a part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) will be used for cheetah reintroduction as well as its habitat management and protection, ecology development, staff training and veterinary healthcare.

The MoU was signed between IOC chairman SM Vaidya and NTCA member secretary and additional director general (Project Tiger) Dr S P Yadav, in the presence of Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav and Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.

“Indian Oil is the first corporate which has come forward to support the ‘Project Cheetah’ under CSR, as the project has not only national importance but is also essential for balancing the ecosystem. Cheetah has a very special significance for the national conservation ethic and ethos. Cheetah restoration will be part of a prototype for restoration of original cheetah habitats and their biodiversity, helping to stem the degradation and rapid loss of biodiversity,’’ said the ministry statement.

The subspecies of cheetah which got extinct in India was Asiatic Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) and the subspecies being introduced in the country is the African Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). Researches have shown that the genes of these two subspecies are the same.

The cheetah introduction project in Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh involves creating a 500-hectare predator-proof enclosure for a ‘soft release’ of the feline. The introduction will take place in a phased manner. A few individuals will first be released after the construction of the “soft-release enclosure” and augmentation of protection.

It is to be noted that Indian Oil last year adopted the Indian single-horned rhino as its mascot and has participated in rhino conservation efforts.



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