'Centre is planning wildlife awareness programmes for students', says Union Minister
Union minister for forest, environment and climate change Bhupender Yadav on Saturday said the Centre is planning wildlife awareness programmes for students ahead of the translocation of four male and four female cheetahs from Namibia to the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ birthday on September 17. He also asked all zoo authorities in the country to install specially designed display boards about the cheetah reintroduction.
The reintroduction of the world’s fastest animal to the Indian forest is taking place 75 years after the country’s last surviving cheetah died in 1947 in present day Chhattisgarh. The species was declared extinct in the country in 1952.
Addressing a conference of zoo directors in Odisha’s Bhubaneswar, the Union minister said the relocation of cheetah will take place at Kuno National Park, where 800 sq km dedicated enclosure has been prepared for the purpose, in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“During past one year, all aspects of translocation have been examined by scientists from South Africa and Namibia. But question arises how are we going to involve next generation in the programme so that they will get to know about cheetah and other animals?” said Yadav.
“We are going to make about 10,000 students between 9th and 12th standard aware about wildlife, especially cheetah. Young scientists of National Museum of Natural History, Delhi, Wildlife Institute of India and fresh officers of Indian Forest Service will take 40 minutes of virtual classes. Videos of wildlife and cheetahs will be shown to students,” he said.
Cheetahs disappeared from the Indian landscape when the Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Koriya in present day Chhattisgarh hunted and shot the last three recorded Asiatic cheetahs in India in 1947. At present cheetahs are present in zoos of Jamnagar, Mysore and Hyderabad. The ‘African Cheetah Introduction Project in India’ was conceived in 2009. The ministry officials present at the meeting said over the next 3-4 years, the Indian government aims at acquiring 50 African cheetahs.
Earlier, inaugurating a national conference on sustainable coastal management in Bhubaneswar, Yadav said the increased frequency and greater severity of some categories of extreme weather events such as cyclone, coastal erosion, rising pace of meltdown of polar icecap and glaciers have been significantly impacting our coastal community.
“Our coastal areas are degrading and our marine fish stocks are declining and several species of ornamental fishes, seahorses and sea-cucumbers are fast disappearing. Such depletion and degradation, unless arrested, will impact livelihood, health and well-being of the coastal population, adversely impacting the prospects of India’s sustained economic growth,” he said.
A programme on Enhancing Climate Resilience of Coastal Communities is being implemented in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the states of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Supported by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the initiative aims at integrating ecosystem and community-based approaches to adaptation into coastal management and planning.
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