Indian Oil Corporation has made a commitment to contribute to relocate Cheetah from Africa to India from its CSR funds. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Indian Oil Corporation have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) wherein IOC would give Rs 50.22 crore over four years for the project. The project now costs Rs 75 crore in total.
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.
Aid for Habitat Management
According to a statement from the Union Environment Ministry, the MoU is a continuation of the agreement on wildlife conservation and sustainable biodiversity exploitation that the governments of India and Namibia signed on July 20 in order to restore the cheetah to its former range in India.
The money given by Indian Oil as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme will be used for the reintroduction of cheetahs as well as for managing and protecting their habitat, developing their ecology, educating workers, and providing veterinary treatment.
Significance of Cheetah for National Conservation
“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 Asiatic Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus), a subspecies of the cheetah, went extinct in India, and the African Cheetah has since been imported (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). These two subspecies have the same genes, according to studies.
A 500-hectare predator-proof enclosure is being built as part of the cheetah introduction project in Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh in preparation for the cat’s “soft release.” There will be several phases to the introduction. A small number of people will be released at first following the creation of the “soft-release enclosure” and improvement of security.