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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 16 March, 2021

  • 12 Min Read

Great Indian Bustard and Conservation Efforts

Great Indian Bustard and Conservation Efforts

  • It is one of the heaviest Flight birds. They have weak eyesight. Habitat is grassland (not covered under Forest Conservation Act, 1980).
  • It is endemic to Indian subcontinent found in Central India, west India and eastern Pakistan.
  • Bustard species found in India: Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican and Bengal Florican; Houbara Bustard in Pakistan.
  • It is considered as the flagship/ indicator grassland species, representing the health of the grassland ecology. No species can replace it.
  • It has an L shaped habitat = Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
  • Largest population is in Rajasthan. It is also Rajasthan’s State Bird. There are 150 Great Indian Bustards (GIB) in Rajasthan’s Desert National Park (DNP).
  • Other important Sites: Great Indian Bustard WS (Maharashtra), Naliya (Gujarat), Warora (Maharashtra) and Bellary (Karnataka); Rollapadu WS (Andhra Pradesh) and Karera Wildlife Sanctuary (MP); Lala Sanctuary in Kutch.

Conservation Efforts

  • Protection under Schedule 1 of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972; Appendix I of CITES; CMS/ Bonn Convention & Critically Endangered under IUCN.
  • Rajasthan State has started Project Godawan for its conservation at Desert National Park in Jaisalmer.
  • It is 1 of the species under Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat's Species Recovery Programme. The important objective of this programme is to build up captive population of GIB and to release the chicks in the wild for increasing the population.
  • Decline in the Population of Great Indian Bustard
  • MoEF initiated a project of 34 crore for conservation and protection of GIB. Only 130 individuals are left.

Reason for decline:

  • Hunting, poaching, habitat erosion, 'greening' projects that transform arid grasslands to wooded areas, change of land use from grassland to farmland, fast moving vehicles and free-ranging dogs in villages.
  • In recent times, death due to collision with wind turbines and power transmission lines has emerged as major factor.
  • Grassland is not covered under Forest Conservation Act, 1980.

What is the news?

  • The Supreme Court on Monday intervened on behalf of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustards over the birds falling dead after colliding with power lines running through their dwindling natural habitats in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde will examine on a priority basis whether overhead power cables can be replaced with underground ones to save one of the heaviest flying birds on the planet.
  • Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Power Ministry, however submitted that only low voltage lines can go underground but not the high voltage ones.
  • The court found further that an alternative mechanism — to install flight bird divertors — to guide the birds away from the power lines would be expensive.
  • The court discovered that the divertors, with their recurring costs, would end costing more than installing and maintaining underground lines. But the court suggested treading the middle path.
  • “Wherever there is high voltage power lines, they can use flight bird divertors even if the recurring costs are high. Wherever there are overhead low voltage lines, these lines can be placed underground,” Chief Justice Bobde remarked.
  • Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, appearing for some power companies, objected to the court passing any sort of blanket ban which would affect over 50 lakh jobs.
  • Mr. Singhvi said the greater threat to the birds was from their diminishing habitat, flattened for agriculture.

For more information about Great Indian Bustard: click here

Source: TH


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