By The Times of India
NEW DELHI: The government on Thursday informed Rajya Sabha that 12-14 cheetahs are likely to be brought from South Africa and or other African countries during the next five years in the country, and there was no agreement with Namibia on their demand for lifting the ban on ivory trade in exchange for cheetahs.
So far, eight cheetahs from Namibia have been introduced in India (Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh) this year. All the eight cheetahs have already been released in larger acclimatisation enclosures post-quarantine.
Responding to a parliamentary question, asked by BJP member Sushil Kumar Modi, minister of state for environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey informed the Upper House that India had signed an MoU with Namibia on ‘Wildlife Conservation and Sustainable Biodiversity Utilisation’ on July 20.
Answering another specific question of RLD member Jayant Chaudhary on the reasons for India’s abstention from Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) vote on reopening the ivory trade, Choubey said, “A proposal was submitted for consideration of the CITES at CoP-19 by Zimbabwe to amend Annotation 2 pertaining to the African elephant populations of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe which provided exemption to conduct sale of ivory with certain conditions.
“The assessment made by CITES secretariat recommended adoption of a part of the proposal. The proposal could not garner 2/3rd majority and was therefore not adopted.”
Trade in ivory in India is prohibited under Section 49B of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. The ministry had even earlier clarified that the government had not received any written communication from the Republic of Namibia regarding lifting of the ban on ivory trade.