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Great Indian Bustards (GIBs)

Great Indian Bustards (GIBs)

Why in news?

  • Recently, a group of hunters shot down two Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) in a protected area of southern Punjab’s Cholistan in Pakistan.

Great Indian Bustards (GIBs)

  • The Great Indian Bustard (GIB), is one of the heaviest flying birds, and is found mainly in the Indian subcontinent. Barely 150 of these birds are estimated to be surviving now globally
  • The Great Indian Bustard (GIB), the State bird of Rajasthan, is considered India’s most critically endangered bird.
  • It is considered the flagship grassland species, representing the health of the grassland ecology.
  • Its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small populations occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • The bird is under constant threats due to collision/electrocution with power transmission lines, hunting (still prevalent in Pakistan), habitat loss and alteration as a result of widespread agricultural expansion, etc.

Habitat And Ecology

  • They inhabit dry and semi-dry grasslands with dispersed bushes and patches of scrub.
  • Breeding tends to occur in undisturbed or less degraded grassland sites.
  • Bustards come together to breed in groups during the monsoon season.
  • Nests are found on the ground, with clutches being laid once a year and typically consisting of only one egg.
  • They are omnivores, feeding on insects, grass seeds, berries, rodents and reptiles.

Major Reasons for decline in Population

  • Poaching outside the protected areas.
  • Loss of Habitat due to increase in population, agriculture and infrastructure development etc.
  • Stray dogs which are known to attack the bustard’s eggs and young ones.
  • GIBs are large in size and usually take low flights which often result indeaths due to collision with electricity transmission lines.                                                  Great Indian Bustards (GIBs)
  • Protection Status
    International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List: Critically Endangered
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix1
  • Convention on Migratory Species (CMS): Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule 1

Conservation Plan

  • Intensive Patrolling by the field staff
  • Strengthening of existing Wireless Network
  • Developing intelligence network in the area.
  • Habitat protection through creation of some inviolate areas for the bird by making some closures of appropriate size and restricting anthropogenic pressures
  • Making of check posts and barriers at strategic locations
  • Incentives to farmers and local people for giving information and protection of the species.
  • Creation of a flying squad headed by not below the rank of a range officer.
  • Habitat enrichment through planting grasses like Lasiurus sindicus(sewan grass)and providing water facilities like water gazellers.
  • Involving local people in the eco-development and eco-tourism activities.
  • Continuous monitoring of the species and habitat.
  • Generating mass awareness and sensitization among the masses.

 

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Mussoorie Times

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