The cheetah is the only large carnivore that got completely wiped out from India, mainly due to over-hunting and habitat loss.

India is all set to introduce cheetahs from South Africa into a wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh by August as part of an attempt to rehabilitate the species that had become extinct in the country.

A top environment ministry official said a special 10 sq km enclosure for cheetahs has been readied at the Kuno-Palpur National Park in Madhya Pradesh and would soon be home to at least six cheetahs that would be brought here from South Africa.

“The agreement with South Africa is in place and is being vetted by the legal cell,” he said.

Talks were also on with Namibia for introducing cheetahs from there in India, but have hit a roadblock over certain issues related to hunting.

“We plan to introduce 8-10 cheetahs every year and take the number to 50 over a five-year period,” he said.

A team from South Africa is visiting Kuno Palpur next week to examine the arrangements made for the cheetahs.

Discussions to bring the cheetah back to India were initiated in 2009 by the Wildlife Trust of India.

The cheetah is the only large carnivore that got completely wiped out from India, mainly due to over-hunting and habitat loss.

The Supreme Court had appointed an expert panel, which approved Kuno Palpur as the possible location for cheetah relocation.