The Great Indian Bustard has found a new abode in two rural tehsils of Maharashtra, prompting forest authorities to start tracking the movement of this critically endangered bird species for its protection.
There are only 45 Great Indian Bustards in the state, and Warora-Bhadrawati tehsils stand second only to Nanaj in Solapur district that has already been recognised as the habitat for this rare species, according to a forest official.
“The basic problem in protection of these birds here is that the area they have opted as their habitat does not come under the jurisdiction of forest department but lies in rural parts. We have taken up massive awareness programme in the villages around to protect these birds.
“If their habitat was in any of our forest areas, the task of protecting them would have been more convenient,” Divisional Forest Officer N D Choudhary said.
They are only interested in protecting the birds and, therefore, not very keen on publicising the issue, he said.
“All possible efforts to track their movement with the help of electronic gadgets is underway. Eleven of these birds have been spotted in Warora-Bhadrawati tehsils and our concern is that people ignorant of these endangered species could create disturbance in the area, thus derailing the process,” Mr. Choudhary said.
The birds nest and breed during September and November during their stay in these type of habitats (in Warora-Badrawati areas) here but their location during the rest of the time during the year is not known. Their tracking would be a great step forward in their protection and conservation, he said.
Standing a metre in height and weighing nearly 15 kg, the Great Indian Bustard was once found in large number across the grasslands of India and Pakistan but is now restricted to small and isolated fragments of the remaining habitat.
The Great Indian Bustard was up-listed to ‘Critically Endangered,’ the highest level of threat by International Union for Conservation of Nature.