Cheetah returns to India: The 'special bird' that will fly from Windhoek to Jaipur
The ultra-long-range aircraft is capable of flying for up to 16 hours and can fly directly from Namibia to India without a refuelling stop, an important consideration for the well-being of the cheetahs.
What you see above is the specially-customised B747 jumbo jet that is currently parked at the airport in the Namibian capital Windhoek. Eight cheetahs will board this special aircraft on September 17 to Jaipur in Rajasthan, from where they will be airlifted to the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh. The landmark moment will see the re-introduction of the cheetah ever since the wild cats went extinct in the country in the 1950s.
The Indian High Commission in Windhoek took to Twitter on Wednesday to say, "A special bird touches down in the Land of the Brave to carry goodwill ambassadors to the Land of the Tiger."
Eight cheetahs, including five female and three male cats, will be brought as part of an inter-continental translocation project. Helicopters will be used to fly the Cheetahs from Jaipur to their new home -- Kuno National Park in the Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be celebrating his 72nd birthday on September 17, will release these cheetahs into the Kuno National Park.
The aircraft, which has the livery of a tiger on the front, has been modified to allow cages housing the cheetahs to be secured in the main cabin. However, the veterinarians will still be able to have full access to the cheetahs during the flight.
The ultra-long-range aircraft is capable of flying for up to 16 hours and can fly directly from Namibia to India without a refuelling stop, an important consideration for the well-being of the cheetahs. The cheetahs will spend their entire air transit period on empty stomachs as a precautionary measure to avoid nausea-like feelings in the animals and other complications, a senior Indian forest department official said on Tuesday.
The cheetahs were completely wiped out from India due to their use for overhunting, sport hunting, coursing and habitat loss. The government declared the cheetah extinct in 1952. The last spotted cheetah died in 1948 in the Sal forests of Chhattisgarh's Koriya district.