Biology Faculty Articles
The case for the reintroduction of cheetahs to India
Nature Ecology & Evolution
In a recent Correspondence to Nature Ecology & Evolution, Gopalaswamy et al.1 are critical of the reintroduction of cheetahs into India, referring broadly to ecological, genetic and disease risks that they feel have not been considered in replacing Asiatic cheetahs with the southern African subspecies. They further assert that three claims made in India’s planned reintroduction are unsubstantiated: that cheetahs have run out of space in Africa; that there is currently sufficient and suitable space in India to accommodate them; and that conservation translocations of cheetahs have demonstrated success in range restoration efforts. They also argue that cheetahs naturally occur at low population densities, making them sensitive to the removal of individuals from source populations.
We have been involved in scientifically advising on the Indian reintroduction project, and we respectfully disagree. Herein, we address each of Gopalaswamy and colleagues’ arguments and offer scientific evidence in support of this ongoing, restorative conservation effort.
Tordiffe, Adrian S. W.; Yadvendradev V. Jhala; Luigi Boitani; Bogdan Cristescu; Richard Kock; Leith R. C. Meyer; Simon Naylor; Stephen James O'Brien; Anne Schmidt-Kuntzel; Mark R. Stanley Price; Vincent van der Merwe; and Laurie Marker. 2023. "The case for the reintroduction of cheetahs to India." Nature Ecology & Evolution , (). doi:10.1038/s41559-023-02002-2.