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Modi Reintroduces Cheetahs to India Decades After Extinction

  • Event on Saturday marks India prime minister’s 72nd birthday
  • Modi’s birthdays are key events in India’s political calender
A Namibian Cheetah

A Namibian Cheetah

Source: AFP/Getty Images

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated his birthday by releasing eight Namibian cheetahs into the wild in central India to burnish his conservationist credentials over an animal made extinct decades ago by colonial hunters and shrinking grasslands. 

“In this 21st century, India is sending out a message to the whole world that economy and ecology are not contradictory,” Modi said on Saturday. “If we protect nature and our environment, the country’s development can take place.”