This animal was declared extinct in India in 1952. But one was just seen in the wild

A cheetah was recently spotted roaming the wild in India for the first time in over seven decades, officials said.

The sighting comes on the heels of a species reintroduction effort spearheaded by the Indian government.

The spotted cats once prowled the Indian subcontinent, but they were decimated by hunters and habitat loss, among other factors, and were declared extinct in 1952, according to a statement from the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

But, a recent plan drawn up by the Indian government stipulated that 10 to 12 cheetahs will be transported to India from African countries every year for at least five years.

As part of the plan, eight cheetahs were shipped over from Namibia in September, and 12 more were shipped from South Africa in February, officials said.

The cats were placed in large, ventilated boxes and airlifted via planes and helicopters to Kuno National Park, a wildlife sanctuary in central India.

And now, for the first time in 70 years, one of the animals was photographed wandering through the open forest, according to a March 21 statement from Kuno National Park.

The photo was snapped by a park official who is tasked with monitoring the big cats, according to India Today.

After a period of quarantine, the animals will be let loose in a larger enclosure, according to the outlet.

The government is hopeful that the rewilding effort will be a success, officials said. It is backed by a team of international experts, veterinarians and scientists.

Google Translate was used to translate the statement from Kuno National Park.

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