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Sheopur (Madhya Pradesh) [India], March 23 (ANI): Two male coalition cheetahs identified as Elton and Freddie have been released in the free-ranging area in Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park successfully on Wednesday.

"Elton and Freddie, two male coalition Cheetahs have been released in the free-ranging area in Kuno today successfully at 6.30 pm. Both are doing well and are healthy," tweeted Kuno National Park.

On March 13, a male cheetah Oban and a female cheetah Asha hunted a chital (deer) at an open forest in Kuno National Park within 24 hours, officials had said.

Speaking to ANI, Sheopur DFO, Prakash Kumar Verma said that both the cheetahs have gone hunting within 24 hours, and both are blending into the environment of the forest.

There are enough animals in the forest for their hunting, the water system is also smooth. The male cheetah Oban was released in the open forest yesterday morning and the female cheetah Asha in the evening," Divisional Forest Officer Prakash Kumar Verma had said. Similarly, other cheetahs will also be released from the enclosure one by one, officials informed.

In September last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released eight cheetahs into Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park.

The cheetah was declared extinct from India in 1952 but 8 cheetahs (5 females and 3 males) were brought from Africa's Namibia as part of 'Project Cheetah' and the government's efforts to revitalise and diversify the country's wildlife and habitat.

The eight cheetahs were brought in a cargo aircraft to Gwalior as part of an inter-continental cheetah translocation project.

Later, the Indian Air Force choppers carried the cheetahs to Kuno National Park from Gwalior Air Force Station. Cheetahs have been brought under an MoU signed earlier this year.

Cheetahs will help in the restoration of open forest and grassland ecosystems in India and will help conserve biodiversity and enhance the ecosystem services like water security, carbon sequestration, and soil moisture conservation.

Under the ambitious Project Cheetah of the Indian government, the reintroduction of wild species particularly cheetahs was undertaken as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines.

India has a long history of wildlife conservation. One of the most successful wildlife conservation ventures 'Project Tiger', which was initiated way back in 1972, has not only contributed to the conservation of tigers but also to the entire ecosystem. (ANI)

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