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Cheetah, world's fastest cat, returns to India after 70 years
Cheetahs are the world's fastest land animals, capable of reaching speeds of 70 miles (113km) an hour - Photo. Pixabay

Cheetahs are set to roam in India for the first time since they were declared officially extinct in 1952, the BBC reported.

This is the first time a large carnivore is being moved from one continent to another and being reintroduced in the wild.

At least 20 cheetahs are coming to India from South Africa and Namibia, home to more than a third of the world's 7,000 cheetahs.

The first batch of eight - five females and three males, aged between two and six years - will arrive from Windhoek in Namibia to the Indian city of Gwalior on Saturday (Sep 17) on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday.

They will undergo a month-long quarantine before being released in a national park in central India.

Wildlife experts, veterinary doctors and three biologists will accompany the animals as they make the transcontinental journey in a modified passenger Boeing 747 plane.

Studies show that at least 200 cheetahs were killed in India, largely by sheep and goat herders, during the colonial period - Photo. Pixabay

Each cheetah will be given a dedicated team of volunteers, which will monitor it and keep tabs on the animal's movement. Satellite radio collars have been put on each cheetah for their geolocation updates.

Experts say that a combination of hunting, habitat loss and food scarcity had led to the cheetah's disappearance in India.

Rare birth of three 'healthy' Asiatic cheetah cubs in Iran

Cheetahs formerly shared jungles with other big cats like lions and tigers but disappeared 70 years ago.

India has been making efforts to reintroduce cheetahs since the 1950s. An effort in the 1970s from Iran was unsuccessful after the Shah of Iran was deposed and the negotiations stopped.

Studies show that at least 200 cheetahs were killed in India, largely by sheep and goat herders, during the colonial period.

African cheetahs to be spotted soon in India's national park thanks to Namibia deal

Some of them were eliminated through bounty hunting because the cats would enter villages and kill livestock. The cheetah is the only large mammal to become extinct in the country since its independence from British rule.

Cheetahs are the world's fastest land animals, capable of reaching speeds of 70 miles (113km) an hour.

levantnews-BBC