The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has constituted an 11-member Cheetah Project Steering Committee to review progress, monitor and advise on the Cheetah introduction to the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department and the NTCA. Rajesh Gopal, Secretary General of the Global Tiger Forum, New Delhi is the chairman of the committee.
The move comes in the wake of the death of six cheetahs, including three newborn cubs, within a period of two and half months at the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh. In the last week, three cheetah cubs born to the Namibian cheetah allegedly died of dehydration and malnourishment.
The decision to set up the high-powered panel was taken at a meeting with the additional chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh.
The members of the task force include wildlife experts from India and abroad. Its terms of reference include the opening of the Cheetah habitat for eco-tourism and suggest regulations in this regard; and suggestions on community interface and for their involvement in the project activities.
The steering committee shall be in force for a period of two years and will hold at least one meeting every month, besides taking field visits as and when required. The committee may invite any expert for consultation, as and when required.
A panel of international Cheetah experts shall be consulted for advice or invited to India as per the specific requirement.
The NTCA which comes under the Ministry of Environment would facilitate the working of the committee.