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Great Indian Bustard (GIB)

  Jun 02, 2020

Great Indian Bustard (GIB)

How do we know that the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) is now critically endangered and at threat of imminent extinction?

In 1969, over 1,000 Great Indian Bustards roamed the country‚Äôs grasslands. Today, this beautiful bird has vanished from 90 per cent of its geographical range, and has a global population of fewer than 150 individuals. 

Where do we find the GIB?

The majority of the surviving birds live in the fragmented grasslands of Rajasthan and Gujarat, along with a few individuals in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. 

Though many of the threats to the Great Indian Bustard, such as habitat loss, poaching are being addressed there is major threat: the overhead power transmission lines that crisscross GIB habitat are killing these low-flying, ground-dwelling birds. According to a study by the Wildlife Institute of India, 10 GIBs have lost their lives in power line collisions in the last decade (2007-2017). 

What measures are being taken to protect the Indian bustard, one of the heaviest birds listed under critically endangered species?

  1.  Union government is providing funds to states and Union Territories for conservation and protection of 21 critically endangered species, including the great Indian bustard through its Centrally Sponsored Scheme-Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (CSS-IDWH) under the component 'Species Recovery Programme'.
  2. Government  has also initiated a project, titled 'Habitat Improvement and Conservation Breeding of Great Indian Bustard-An Integrated Approach', with a financial support of Rs 33.85 crore for five years from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) for conservation, breeding of the Indian bustard with technical support from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).The important objective of this programme is to build up captive population of great Indian bustard and to release the chicks in the wild for increasing the population. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra are the important range states involved in this programme.
  3. Government is starting a breeding programme to repopulate the great Indian bustard:  collect their eggs, incubate them and hatch them. The second and third generation born out of the breeding will be then released into the wild when the environment is suitable for them. But it will take at least 15 years for them to be released into the wild.

Are there any breeding and hatching centres today?

Currently, there are two centres for breeding and hatching -- one in Jaisalmer and the other in Kota, both in Rajasthan.

What did the National Green Tribunal direct the Centre to do in September 2019?

NGT told the centre to prepare a time-bound action plan within two months for protection of the birds. India is the only home of the Great Indian Bustard. Protecting this bird is a matter of national pride.