8 Cheetahs were brought in from Namibia for re-introduction in India after the species became extinct in 1952. These cheetahs were brought to India and the Prime Minister Modi released them into the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.
Now, this picture is shared in social media to claim that the plane that brought cheetahs to India was painted specially for this occasion. Some media outlets also claim that the plane was specially painted for the occasion.
What’s the truth?
The 8 cheetahs were brought from Namibia to Gwalior Airport in a special purpose Boeing 747 plane. However, the plane had the face of a tiger (Not Cheetah) for many years already. There are several videos of the plane with the tiger painted on its nose in YouTube. We can find several articles from 2015 which states that a now defunct Russian carrier Transaero had unveiled a Boeing 747-400 with a tiger’s head on its nose.
The article dated 07/03/2015 in the Aviation Buzzword also has videos of the plane getting its nose painted with a tiger image.
This was done to create awareness about the conserving the Amur Tigers of the Siberian region.
The Aircraft is currently owned by Maldova’s Terra Avia from March 2022 which was earlier owned by Transaero Airlines from June 2012 until May 2021 when it was bought by TVPX Trust Services of USA.
It could be a mere coincide or a choreographed effort that this particular plane carried the cheetahs from Namibia to India. But either way, the plane was not specifically painted for this occasion.
In our search, we find that the plane was painted with a tiger’s image in 2015 and the claim that the plane was painted specially for the occasion of bringing cheetahs to India is false.