Last week, eight African cheetahs were flown from Namibia to Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park. It was the world's first intercontinental relocation of wild carnivores. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present to release the cheetahs from their cages into their temporary five-square-kilometre enclosures.
The relocation plan has received considerable criticism from conservationists who say it is ecologically unsound. Some have criticised it because it will displace the village of Bagcha, with around 250, mostly Adivasi, families.
If past experience is anything to go by, these families have little reason to be optimistic about their resettlement.
As Vaishnavi Rathore reports, decades ago, around 1,500 families from 24 villages were moved out to make way for lions from Gir. The lions never came but the families continue to struggle to survive, cut off from fertile lands and the bountiful produce of the forest. “We are still suffering,” one relocated forest dweller. “What will the residents of Bagcha get from moving out of the forest?” You can read the story here.