Yesterday we reported on a controversial plan to bring up to 50 cheetahs back to India. The cheetahs are part of Project Cheetah, an attempt to reverse the extinction of the fast sprinting cat from India. The last Indian cheetahs were killed in 1952.
Today comes word that two elephants experienced in security work in Indian parks have been brought to the park to help protect the cheetahs. The cheetahs are in an enclosure under quarantine for 30 days
India Today says the elephants are named Lakshmi and Siddhnath. They were part of the team at Satpura Tiger Reserve in Narmadapuram. India Today said they were part of the effort to avert a serious embarrassment to Project Cheetah. Five leopards had somehow gotten into the security enclosure housing the quarantined cheetahs and had to be driven out.
Nakshmi and Siddhnath will patrol the area and monitor the cheetahs, as they have at the tiger reserves.
These elephants played an important role in the rescue operation to drive away four out of five leopards that entered the special enclosure made for the cheetahs before their arrival.
“Both the elephants are now patrolling day and night with the security teams of the national park, along with monitoring the cheetahs.” India Times said.
Lakshmi is said to be even tempered while Siddhnath, although very effective, has an ugly temper. He killed two handlers in 2010.
Project Cheetah has been in development for a number of years. It was delayed until this year, partly by COVID concerns. Indian iPrime Minister Narendra Modi released the cheetahs into Kuno National Park on his birthday, September 17.
India has been in the news for its conservation efforts for a number of iconic species. India and Nepal have both had success in increasing tiger numbers. They have also seen some succes with Asiatic lions.
However, critics remain. Project Cheetah is being criticised in some quarters. It is said to be unlikely to work. The current tiger restoration efforts are called “tiger-centric” The government does seem committed to trying to save India’s distinctive wildlife.