Catches glimpse of the birds; reviews logistical issues faced by officials

Barely three days after the Rajasthan government launched a major project for the conservation of the Great Indian Bustard, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot drove to the Desert National Park in Jaisalmer district on Saturday and was able to observe over a dozen rare giant birds in their open grassland habitat.

Mr. Gehlot, who was on a visit to Jaisalmer to commission a gas-based power plant at Ramgarh, about 60 km north of the town, suddenly decided in the morning to catch a glimpse of the State bird in is natural environs.

Forest officials were on their toes when they came to know of Mr. Gehlot’s surprise visit, perhaps a first for a Chief Minister.

Energy Minister Jitendra Singh and Pradesh Congress Committee president Chandrabhan accompanied the Chief Minister on the morning safari.

Mr. Gehlot and his entourage reached Sudasri — considered the sanctum sanctorum of the park — and were treated to a majestic sight as the brown-plumaged birds frolicked in the desert sand.

“During the course of an hour-long drive, Mr. Gehlot was able to observe about a dozen GIBs, mostly male, some in courtship display with their Gular pouch bulging out and almost [touching] the ground,” said a forest officer who guided the group.

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