African cheetahs, to be translocated in India from Namibia, will be kept at Nauradehi wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) told the Supreme Court on Friday.
It said the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which provides inputs to governments and institutions on biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development, has given no objection for the translocation.
India's last spotted cheetah had died in 1947. In 1952, the animal was declared extinct in the country.
The matter came up for hearing before a bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and Deepak Gupta on Friday and the counsel representing NTCA told the court that Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, has also supported the proposal to re-introduce cheetahs in the country.
NTCA's counsel said: "We are suggesting Nauradehi sanctuary in Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh (for keeping cheetahs)".
The counsel said NTCA was only seeking a clarification that there is no blanket ban of the apex court on re-introduction of cheetahs in the country.
However, one of the counsels appearing in the matter told the top court as to why the NTCA were not re-introducing Indian cheetahs in the country.
"They (NTCA) want to re-introduce African cheetahs. Indian cheetahs are available in Iran. Why they are not re-introducing Indian cheetahs?," the counsel said.
The bench said that the matter was required to be heard and posted it for hearing on March 12.
The NTCA had earlier told the court that IUCN has said it would co-operate with India in translocation of Cheetahs from Namibia.
The authority had also referred to the apex court's 2013 decision rendered in a wildlife case and said it does not prevent the authorities from taking steps in conformity with the law to relocated cheetahs from Africa to suitable sites in India.
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