New Delhi, Aug 5 (PTI) The Supreme Court Monday said it was not against the ambitious project to relocate African Cheetah from Namibia to Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.
There were no recorded evidence of Tiger-Cheetah conflicts, it said and sought a view of lawyer assisting the court on relocation of the animals.
A bench of Justices S A Bobde and B R Gavai wondered as how the court would know whether the Cheetah would survive after senior advocate Wasim Qadri, appearing for National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), said the sanctuary also has various animals like Tiger and Leopard.
The top court, however, supported the move of NTCA and said that it was not against the policy to experiment relocating African Cheetah in Madhya Pradesh.
It posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.
At the outset, Qadri said that the observation of the Amicus Curiae that the areas in question "are not preferred habitat of Cheetah is totally incorrect".
NTCA said all the potential sites found feasible for reintroducing Cheetah will be reassessed and an action plan will be developed for measures that are required, prior to the reintroduction.
The authority further said that Madhya Pradesh government has written to it for Cheetah reintroduction at Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary.
On February 22, NTCA had told the apex court that the African cheetahs, to be translocated in India from Namibia, will be kept at Nauradehi wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.
It said the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which provides inputs to governments and institutions on biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development, has given no objection for the translocation.
India's last spotted cheetah had died in 1947. In 1952, the animal was declared extinct in the country.
NTCA had earlier told the court that it was only seeking a clarification that there is no blanket ban of the apex court on re-introduction of cheetahs in the country.
It informed the court that IUCN has said it would co-operate with India in translocation of Cheetahs from Namibia.
It also referred to the apex court's 2013 decision in a wildlife case and said it does not prevent the authorities from taking steps in conformity with the law to relocated cheetahs from Africa to suitable sites in India. PTI MNL ABA SA