Gwalior: Eight cheetahs from Namibia landed here on Saturday, as part of the programme to reintroduce the feline in India seven decades after it was declared extinct in the country. A modified Boeing aircraft, which took off from the African country Friday night, carried the cheetahs in special wooden crates during the around 10-hour journey.
The plane landed at the Gwalior airbase shortly before 8 am, an official said.
They will be flown to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is celebrating his birthday, will release three of the cheetahs in quarantine enclosures of the park at 10.45 am.
The animals are being flown from Gwalior to Kuno in Sheopur district, 165 km away, in an Air Force helicopter, and the journey will take about 20-25 minutes, an official said.
Officials battled heavy rain, inclement weather and some blocked roads to complete the preparations for Modi's programme to release the big cats in their new home in Kuno.
Two days before Modi's arrival, heavy rain lashed the Gwalior-Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh. PTI