Oct 2023

The Green Mandate Season 2, Ep. 4: ‘Introduction of African Cheetahs In India’ in conversation with Dr. Ravi Chellam

Thursday, 19 Oct 2023, 4:00 pm-Thursday, 19 Oct 2023, 6:00 pm
The Green Mandate S2 E4 Introduction of African Cheetahs with Dr Ravi Chellam and Debadityo Sinha

The Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy and Rainmatter Foundation, in association with Collective for Environmental Action of National Law University, Delhi invites you to the fourth episode of Season 2 of THE GREEN MANDATE, focusing on ‘Introduction of African Cheetahs in India’. The episode features a conversation with noted Wildlife Biologist & Conservation Scientist Dr Ravi Chellam. The conversation will take place at Moot Court Hall, Ground Floor, Academic Block, National Law University, Delhi, Sector 14 Dwarka, New Delhi, on 19th October 2023 from 4 PM IST.

About the Discussion

The Cheetah was officially declared extinct in India in 1952. In 2009, the ‘African Cheetah Introduction Project in India’ was initiated, but it took a decade for substantial progress to be made. The Supreme Court established a three-member committee to oversee the introduction plan, and it granted its final approval in January 2020. Following a delay caused by the COVID-
19 pandemic, the ‘Action Plan for the Introduction of Cheetah in India’ was unveiled in 2022. The plan involves the relocation of 50 Cheetahs over the next 5 years, with approximately 10- 12 Cheetahs being brought from South Africa and Namibia in the first year.

Kuno Palpur National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh was selected as the initial site for Cheetah introduction after evaluating 10 possible locations. KNP was determined to be the most suitable habitat with an adequate prey base for the conservation and breeding of the species. In September 2022 and February 2023, a total of twenty cheetahs were translocated to Kuno National Park (KNP) from southern Africa. Currently, more sites are under consideration for introducing Cheetahs. Unfortunately, there have been nine deaths, including six adult cheetahs and three cubs.

This introduction initiative marks a significant milestone in India’s wildlife conservation efforts, but it has sparked a complex debate about the ecological and financial viability of such a project. Questions regarding the project’s alignment with conservation priorities and the potential impacts on native species and ecosystems have generated both support and scepticism among various stakeholders.

About the Speaker

In the upcoming fourth episode of Season 2 of The Green Mandate, Debadityo Sinha, Lead, Climate & Ecosystems team at Vidhi, will engage in a detailed conversation with renowned wildlife biologist Dr Ravi Chellam, who is also CEO of the Metastring Foundation. He stands out as a prominent and outspoken critic of the Cheetah Introduction Project. This dialogue promises to unveil the intricate facets of the Cheetah Introduction in India while delving deeper into Dr. Chellam’s perspectives on the matter.

Dr Ravi Chellam is a distinguished wildlife biologist and conservation scientist with an extensive involvement in research, education, outreach, and conservation initiatives that span over four decades. Over the course of his career, he has held leadership roles within premiere institutions, including the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) – India Program, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, Foundation for Ecological Security, and Greenpeace India. Dr. Chellam is widely recognised for his pioneering research, particularly his extensive work on the Asiatic lions in the Gir Forest since 1985, which formed the basis of his doctoral studies. Since 2013, Dr. Chellam has been a vital member of the Expert Committee appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee and guide the translocation of lions from Gir forest to Kuno National Park. Currently, he serves as the CEO of Metastring Foundation, is a member of the Coexistence Consortium, and coordinates the Biodiversity Collaborative.

About The Green Mandate

THE GREEN MANDATE provides a platform for an in-depth conversation on such issues affecting current conservation challenges and aims at developing a more profound public discourse on the law and policy aspects of it. Watch the previous episodes of The Green Mandate here.

The Climate and Ecosystems team at Vidhi is supported by the Rainmatter Foundation and Sandeep Singhal.


19th October 2023, Thursday, 16.00-18.00 HRS (IST)
Moot Court Hall, Ground Floor, Academic Block, National Law University, Delhi, Sector 14 Dwarka, New Delhi, 110078

16.00 hrs: Introduction of the Speaker and Presentation of the Issue

16.10 hrs: Discussion with Dr. Ravi Chellam

17.00 hrs: Q&A Session with Audience

17.50 hrs: Vote of Thanks

The event is open for all, but prior registration is recommended. Fill the form below to RSVP. The event will not be live-streamed.