Project Cheetah is a Congress government project that was delayed by litigations.


This was the letter that launched Project Cheetah in 2009. Our PM is a pathological liar. I couldn’t lay my hands on this letter yesterday because of my preoccupation with the #BharatJodoYatra

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PM hardly ever acknowledges continuity in governance. Cheetah project going back to my visit to Capetown on 25.04.2010 is the latest example. The tamasha orchestrated by PM today is unwarranted and is yet another diversion from pressing national issues and

When tigers were first translocated to Panna and Sariska during 2009-11, there were many prophets of doom. They were proved wrong. Similar predictions are being made on the Cheetah project. The professionals involved are first-rate and I wish the project the very best! 2/2

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi released 8 Cheetahs that were brought from Namibia into the wilderness of the Kuno National Park on his birthday on 17th September 2022. Cheetahs went extinct in India in 1952 due to excessive hunting and poaching in addition to the loss of habitat caused by humans.

After several decades, Cheetahs brought from Namibia are now being reintroduced into the wilderness of India. This rather conventional launch was publicized to one of the biggest spectacles in recent times by the Union Government and the release of Cheetahs into the wild was carefully made to coincide with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday which was initially expected to be reintroduced in the month of August.

The scale of the reintroduction of Cheetahs, however, irked many in the opposition and Jairam Ramesh from Congress who was the Union Minister of Environment & Forests in the UPA-II regime who tweeted that the “Project Cheetah” was launched in 2009. 

What’s the truth?

Project Cheetah was initiated indeed in 2009 by Congress-led UPA-II and the then Union Minister for Environment & Forests, Jairam Ramesh visited South Africa in 2010 regarding the project.

As per the various news articles from 2010, India was in talks with South Africa, Namibia and Kenya simultaneously and it was estimated that 18 cheetahs would be reintroduced in India in 3 years, even amidst opposition from the tiger lobby.

Jairam Ramesh was quoted saying, “They say if you can’t look after the tiger, how will you protect the cheetah?” Mr. Ramesh said. “I believe that just as the tiger is a symbol of the forest habitat, the cheetah symbolises our vanishing grasslands…It’s a valuable icon.”

A case was filed by the Centre for Environment Law in the Supreme Court in 2012 against the introduction of foreign species in India. The then Amicus Curiae in the case, P.S.Narasimha objected to the introduction of Cheetahs from Namibia and a stay was issued on 8th May 2012.

In further proceedings, the Supreme Court found the decision to introduce Cheetahs in India was arbitrary and illegal in the judgment on 15th April 2013. The Court also pointed out in its judgment that there was no detailed study done on the matter and no materials regarding the study conducted were produced before the court.

In 2017, a review petition was filed before the Supreme Court by National Tiger Conservatory Authority (NTCA) to review its 2013 decision citing that proper research and feasibility study were done in consultation with the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL).

After 3 years of examination, the Supreme Court bench headed by SA Bobde, the then Chief Justice of India, allowed the Indian Government to bring Cheetahs on a trial basis. This order was passed on January 2020 which enabled the Government to bring the cheetahs from Namibia and introduce them into the wilderness of the Kuno National Park of Madhya Pradesh.


In our fact-check, we find that the claim made by Jairam Ramesh is true. Attempts to bring cheetahs to India have been taken from the Congress period from 2009 and after many legal hurdles which were cleared by 2020, the Cheetahs are brought to India in September 2022.

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