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STATUS OF THE GREAT INDIAN BUSTARD POPULATION



  Jun 07, 2024

STATUS OF THE GREAT INDIAN BUSTARD POPULATION



RECENT SURVEY AND FINDINGS

The Rajasthan Forest Department recently conducted its annual waterhole survey in Jaisalmer district and counted 64 Great Indian Bustards (GIBs). This count has generated excitement and raised questions about the effectiveness of current conservation efforts.

WATERHOLE METHOD FOR POPULATION COUNT

The waterhole method involves counting animals visiting a water body over a continuous 24-hour period during peak summer. This direct counting method is cost-effective and provides immediate results, although it relies on the judgment of the enumerators. Despite its limitations, it helps in understanding wildlife population trends over time.

FACTORS INFLUENCING GIB POPULATION

The increase or decrease in GIB numbers cannot be conclusively determined from the current census, as the previous two years’ surveys were canceled due to rain. However, effective habitat management by the forest department and contributions from local organizations and communities have played a significant role in increasing protection and suitable habitats for the GIB.

IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE

The Thar region has experienced increased rainfall in recent decades due to climatic changes, which extends the distribution range of biodiversity. While this is not immediately threatening the GIB, it does affect the native flora and fauna of the Thar.

CURRENT POPULATION ESTIMATES

There has not been a comprehensive population estimate since 2018, when the Wildlife Institute of India estimated a maximum of 150 individuals. Currently, there are believed to be around 90-100 GIBs in Rajasthan, four females in Gujarat, and 5-8 individuals in the Deccan states. Given that six years have passed since the last estimate, there is an urgent need to reassess the GIB population and expedite conservation efforts.


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