By Ankita Garg
As the Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Mandsaur, will be second home to cheetahs in India, enclosures are being prepared over 67 sq km of area. The enclosures are prepared with cost of Rs 30 crore to welcome the third batch of Cheetah from Namibia. Officials said that they are trying to bring the third batch of cheetahs in January 2024. However, local villagers are also opposing the cheetah project around Mandsaur for various reasons. Enclosures are being prepared at the end of Chambal river in sanctuary area. Around 12,500 patches have been dug to fit the iron rod at distance of 3 meter. There will be wire fencing on these iron pillars along with 28 km long and 10 feet high wall. There will be solar wire above three feet so that electricity can be supplied with the solar system. If any cheetah tries to cross the wall or fencing area, he would get electricity current. There is solar point at every 7 km of distance and electricity current will be there above the wall. Enclosure is almost ready. Gandhi Sagar is spread over 369 km and net fencing is being done on 28 km of area that cost around Rs 17.70 crore. Cameras are also placed at various points. The project would cost Rs 30 crore. Recently, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) team members reached Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary to check the preparation.
They also checked the new home of cheetah with Cheetah Punarvas Samiti. They checked progress of fencing, work quality and fixed guidelines to be followed. Chairman of Cheetah Punarvas Samiti Dr Rajesh Gopal, committee member Himmat Singh Negi, NTCA IG Inspector General Forest Dr Amit Mallik are in the team. Mandsaur has been finalised as second home for cheetah after Sheopur because of its open jungle, better grass quality and favourite killing of the cat. The sanctuary has all the three things for cheetah. It also cost lesser to prepare the Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary for Cheetah in comparison to neighbouring state Rajasthan’s sanctuary. The selected space in Gandhi Sagar is in ‘L’ shape and the other end of area is Chambal River. Talking about the preparations, DFO Sanjay Raikhere said that water source is being prepared at every two km of area, water will be supplied from Chambal Karanpura and Chaurasigarh area. Four water tanks each consisting 10,000 litre of water in each will be prepared. Total eight water tanks are constructed in the enclosure.
District Forest Officer (DFO) Raikhere said that earlier it was planned to bring six cheetahs from Sheopur but now plan has been changed. He said that now ten cheetahs will be brought from African country. He said that officials were happy to see the group of chinkaras in Gandhi Sagar which is favourite food of cheetah. He said that ten cheetas will be brought from African country in January and then staff will be increased in the sanctuary. At present, there are only 25 staff in the field and after bringing cheetahs, 35 people will be deployed in the field. Sanjay Raikhere, DFO of Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, says, “Earlier it was planned to bring six cheetahs from Sheopur. Later, the authorities decided to bring ten cheetahs from Africa for Mandsaur. We have been asked to prepare the area by December. NTCA and Cheetah Samiti were delighted to see the dense population of chinkara in Mandsaur as it is favourite prey of cheetah.”