Twelve cheetahs brought from South Africa to India in February were released in the acclimatisation enclosure of the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh, an official said on Thursday.
Forest authorities kept the felines, comprising seven males and five females in the quarantine bomas (enclosure) of the KNP on February 18.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests J S Chauhan said, the twelve cheetahs have been released in the acclimatisation enclosure, aka soft or pre-release enclosure, after a go-ahead from the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD).
He said the MP forest department got the clearance from the DAHD three days ago.
"We started releasing them and completed the process in the last three days," Chauhan added.
After one month, a call would be taken on releasing them into the wild, he said adding that cursorial predators would be set free in an a phased manner, like two or three in the first batch after studying their behaviour.
In September last year, the first lot of eight cheetahs, the fastest land animal, was brought to the KNP from Namibia in Africa.
The inter-continental translocation of the cheetahs is part of the Indian government's ambitious programme to reintroduce these animals in the country, seven decades after they became extinct.
Eheetah was declared extinct in 1952
The country's last cheetah died in Koriya district of present-day Chhattisgarh in 1947 and the species was declared extinct in 1952. On September 17, 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released eight felines brought from Namibia into the KNP. Last month, five-year-old female cheetah Sasha, brought from Namibia, died of a kidney-related ailment.
(With PTI input)