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  • 18 July, 2022

  • 10 Min Read



Only four Female Great Indian Bustards (GIB) are left in Gujarat. According to a 2018 count, India has fewer than 150 GIBs, of which 122 are mainly in Rajasthan.

About Great Indian Bustard

  • The Great Indian Bustard is a bustard native to the Indian subcontinent. Bustards are large terrestrial birds found in dry grasslands and steppe regions.
  • Also known as the Indian Bustard, it is among the heaviest flying birds in existence, standing at about 3.3 ft tall.
  • Weighing about 15 kgs, the Great Indian Bustard is easily recognizable by its black cap over a pale head and neck.
  • The male is deep sandy buff coloured and its breast band turns black during the mating season. The female is smaller compared to the male.
  • It is the State bird of Rajasthan and is considered India’s most critically endangered bird.
  • The Great Indian Bustard is considered the flagship grassland species, representing the health of the grassland ecology.
  • Its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. A small population is also found in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Three of the four bustard species are found in India, namely the Great Indian Bustard, the Lesser Florican, and the Bengal Florican. The fourth one Houbara is a migratory species.

[Note: Only 350 Bengal Floricans are left in the country. It was once widely distributed in the Gangetic and Brahmaputra plains, now confined to a few pockets of Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh. IUCN STATUS: Critically Endangered]

[Lesser Florican smallest of the Bustard family was found throughout the country and now less than 2500 survive in the world, confined to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Western Madhya Pradesh. IUCN STATUS: Endangered]

Threats and issues in Conservation:

  • The bird is under constant threat due to collision/electrocution with power transmission lines, hunting (still prevalent in Pakistan), habitat loss and alteration and widespread agricultural expansion, encroachment of wetlands and grasslands, widespread overgrazing of grasslands, etc.
  • Apathy of people and government, the Maharashtra Government decided to reduce the size of the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary in the Sholapur district.
  • Similarly, encroachment by the local people in the Karera Bustard Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh led to the extinction of the species in the region.
  • Central government lack of financial, and technical support to the critically endangered bustards as is given under Project Tiger, Project Elephant that has helped save the species, their habitat, and associated species.

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) -Appendix I
  • Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)- Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972- Schedule 1

Measures taken to protect the Bustards:

  • Species Recovery Programme: It is kept under the species recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to protect all the species of bustards found in India.
  • National Bustard Recovery Plans: It is currently being implemented by linking local livelihood with bustard conservation. The core breeding areas are identified by the state government and kept inviolate from human disturbance, restricting land use diversion for roads, intensive agriculture etc. Includes incentivizing the local farmers to start breeding birds on their land.
  • Conservation Breeding Facility: MoEF&CC, Rajasthan government and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have also established a conservation breeding facility in Desert National Park at Jaisalmer in June 2019.

The programme aims to build up a captive population of Great Indian Bustards and to release the chicks into the wild for increasing the population.

  • Project Great Indian Bustard: It has been launched by the Rajasthan government to construct breeding enclosures for the species and develop infrastructure to reduce human pressure on its habitats.
  • Eco-Friendly Measures: Task Force has been created for suggesting eco-friendly measures to mitigate the impacts of power transmission lines and other power transmission infrastructures on wildlife including the Great Indian Bustard.

A proper Centrally Sponsored holistic approach with necessary policies and action to conserve grasslands, with the involvement of local communities is much needed for the conservation of the bustards.

Source: The Hindu

  • 21 December, 2020

  • 7 Min Read

Great Indian Bustard

Great Indian Bustard

The Wildlife Institute of India proposed to put all power transmission lines passing through Great Indian Bustard (GIB) habitat underground. GIB, a bird native to India and Pakistan, is the State Bird of Rajasthan. The largest population is found in Rajasthan.


  • The GIB is one of the heaviest flying bird endemics to the Indian subcontinent.
  • They are primarily terrestrial birds.
  • The GIB lays one egg every 1-2 years and the success rate of these eggs is 60-70 per cent.
  • However, this rate has been reduced to 40-50 % due to predators like foxes and dogs.
  • Today less than 150 individuals are left in India.
  • They have a poor frontal vision.
  • Maximum numbers of GIBs are found in Jaisalmer and the Indian Army-controlled field firing range near Pokhran, Rajasthan.
  • Other areas where they are found in less than 10 in number are Kutch district in Gujarat, Nagpur and Solapur districts in Maharashtra, Bellary and Koppal districts in Karnataka and Kurnool district and Amravati in Andhra Pradesh.

The sanctuaries that shelter or conserve

    1. Desert National Park, Rajasthan
    2. Kutch Bustard Sanctuary, Gujarat
    3. Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary or Jawaharlal Nehru Bustard Sanctuary, Maharashtra
    4. Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary – Andhra Pradesh
    5. Karera Wildlife Sanctuary– Madhya Pradesh

Protection status of GIB:

    1. IUCN Status is Critically Endangered
    2. Appendix I of CITES
    3. Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972

Threats include agriculture; energy production & mining; transportation; human intrusions, and invasive and other problematic species.

IUCN Red List

  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has updated its Red List of Threatened Species.
  • Now, Ganga, Amazon, Indus, and Irrawaddy species of freshwater dolphins are “threatened with extinction” on the IUCN Red List.
  • Tucuxi species (Sotalia fluviatilis) of freshwater dolphins are moving from ‘data deficient to ‘endangered’.
  • IUCN also declared 31 species as extinct which include 15 freshwater fish species endemic to Lake Lanao and its outlet in the Philippines; three Central American frog species; Lost Shark.
  • Also, three Macadamia species of protea (a genus of South African flowering plants) family; 9 Asian oak species.
  • The European bison has moved from Vulnerable to Near Threatened.


As per the latest information from the IUCN Red List 2019:

  • 41% of the amphibians are threatened
  • 33% fo the coral reefs are in the threatened category

A series of Regional Red Lists are produced by countries or organizations, which assess the risk of extinction to species within a political management unit. The IUCN Red List is based upon precise criteria to evaluate the rate of extinction of thousands of species and subspecies. These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world.

The IUCN red list provides taxonomic data, conservation status, and distribution information on species that are facing a high risk of global extinction.

Objectives of IUCN

The International Union for Conservation of Nature works to achieve the following goals:

  1. To provide scientific data on the status of species and subspecies at a global level.
  2. To address the factors of concern and spread awareness regarding the species and biodiversity extinction.
  3. To plan a layout for the conservation of biodiversity.

IUCN Red List Users

The IUCN Red List provides accurate data on the status of different species on the Earth. This information is used by various departments, institutes, and organizations.

The users of the IUCN Red List are given below:

  • Government agencies (National & International)
  • Wildlife organizations and departments
  • Conservation-related NGOs
  • Natural resource planners
  • Educational organizations
  • Zoos and aquariums
  • Media
  • Business communities

Purpose of the IUCN Red List Data

The information cited in the IUCN Red List is used by various organizations in the following ways:

  • International Agreements such as CITES, and Ramsar Convention use the Red List data to make important decisions in sync with the status of nature as and when required.
  • World Bank Group performance standard uses the IUCN Red List data to evaluate the risk of damage to biodiversity due to large-scale infrastructures and global projects.
  • Zoos and National parks use this information to upgrade important policies like park regulations from time to time.

Following are the 9 categories in the IUCN red list:

  • Extinct (EX) – No known individuals remaining.
  • Extinct in the wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.
  • Critically endangered (CR) – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Endangered (EN) – High risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild.
  • Near threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered soon.
  • Least concern (LC) – Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at-risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
  • Data deficient (DD) – Not enough data to assess its risk of extinction.
  • Not evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria

List of critically endangered species in India as per IUCN Red List 2019

Critically Endangered Mammals

  1. Pygmy Hog
  2. Andaman White-toothed Shrew
  3. Jenkin’s Andaman Spiny Shrew
  4. Nicobar White-tailed Shrew
  5. Kondana Rat
  6. Large Rock Rat or Elvira Rat
  7. Namdapha Flying Squirrel
  8. Malabar Civet
  9. Sumatran Rhinoceros
  10. Javan Rhinoceros

Critically Endangered Birds

  1. Aythya baeri
  2. Forest Owlet
  3. Great Indian Bustard
  4. Bengal Florican
  5. Siberian Crane
  6. Spoon-billed Sandpiper
  7. Sociable Lapwing
  8. Jerdon’s Courser
  9. White-backed Vulture
  10. Red-headed Vulture
  11. White-bellied Heron
  12. Slender-billed Vulture
  13. Indian Vulture
  14. Pink-headed Duck
  15. Himalayan Quail

Critically Endangered Reptiles

  1. Gharial
  2. Hawksbill Turtle
  3. Leatherback Turtle
  4. River Terrapin
  5. Bengal Roof Turtle
  6. Sispara day gecko

Critically Endangered Fishes

  1. Pondicherry Shark
  2. Ganges Shark
  3. Knife-tooth Sawfish
  4. Large-tooth Sawfish
  5. Narrow-snout Sawfish

Source: PIB

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