One way the government is trying to smoothen the settling in of the cheetahs in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno national park is through the medium of “cheetah mitras” or ‘cheetah friends’.
- Cheetah mitras have mainly been involved by the government to familiarise the local populations with the big cats and minimise potential conflicts. As the cheetahs have been brought to Kuno, the nearby villages might be unaware of the changes that can come about with the new animal being introduced.
- To make the local population understand more about the cheetah and its characteristics, forest officials have trained around 400 cheetah mitras from 51 villages, including school teachers, village headmen and patwaris
- Along with informing the villagers, keeping the big cats safe from poachers will be an important task. Hunting was why the Asiatic cheetah went extinct in India in 1952.