The road to return of the cheetah is strewn with landmines

The cheetah—the world’s fastest animal on land—is all set for a homecoming in India after an absence of seven decades | Image - Eunice Dhivya

The air is already abuzz with excitement, thick enough to be cut with a knife. The event promises to be momentous. Second only to peregrine falcon in speed, cheetah—the world’s fastest animal on land—is all set for a homecoming in India after an absence of seven decades.

But it would be advisable not to break into premature victory laps. Because in a real world scenario, there can be many a slip between the cup and the lip. And also because when it comes to successfully implementing conservation measures of this magnitude, India has quite an uneven record. It is marred by hits and misses in equal measures.

It is nobody’s case that cheetahs can’t be brought back. Before the extinction, they were here for several centuries, co-existing peacefully with humans. So technically yes, they can be re-introduced. The time too seems ripe for the move.

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