They will be personally welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, his 72nd birthday.
A cheetah lies inside a transport cage at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, on Friday, 16 September 2022. The CCF will travel to India on Saturday to deliver eight wild cheetahs to the Kuno National Park in India. Source: AAP / AP
He will swing open the gates of Kuno National Park, a new sanctuary created for the cats, 320 kilometres (200 miles) south of Delhi.
“This is historic, global first. Game-changing,” he told AFP. “We are all the more excited because it is happening in the 75th year of Indian independence”.
Years in the making
The project has been in the making for more than a decade. Initial discussion started in the 1990s, she told AFP.
The critically endangered subspecies, which once roamed across the Middle East, Central Asia and India, are now only found, in very small numbers, in Iran.
A donation from Namibia
They are a donation from the government of Namibia, one of a tiny handful of countries in Africa where the magnificent creature survives in the wild.
Cheetahs became extinct in India primarily because of habitat loss and hunting for their distinctive spotted coats.
The last three cheetahs
An Indian prince, the Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo, is widely believed to have killed the last three recorded cheetahs in India in the late 1940s.
Their survival is threatened primarily by dwindling natural habitat and loss of prey due to human hunting, the development of land for other purposes and climate change.
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