Karnataka

What steps have been proposed to protect the Great Indian Bustard, asks HC

The Great Indian Bustard is a critically endangered species and needs open grasslands and scrublands for survival.   | Photo Credit: File Photo

The High Court of Karnataka has directed the State government to inform it of the immediate steps it has proposed to take to protect and preserve the Great Indian Bustard (GIB), a critically endangered species of birds, in its habitat at Siruguppa in Ballari district.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S. Vishwajith Shetty passed the order on a PIL petition filed by Edward Santosh Martin, a Ballari-based conservationist, and two others.

“The Wildlife (Protection) Act has been enacted to protect wild animals and birds. Thus, it is the obligation of the State to protect wildlife. Moreover, as per Article 48 of the Constitution, it is part of State policy to protect forests, wildlife, and animals in the country. Also, it is the duty of everyone to protect wildlife as per Article 51,” the Bench observed, while directing the government to file its response by December 21.

The petitioners complained that the alleged “illegal” constructions such as watchtowers, anti-poaching camps, and digging up of waterholes being put up by the Forest Department in the habitats of GIB had pushed the species to the brink of extinction.

Contending that the constructions were causing extreme hindrance to the survival of GIB as the birds required open grasslands and scrublands for survival, the petitioners said that “if the surviving eight GIBs in Siruguppa do not breed this winter, Karnataka will lose its pride forever”.

While seeking direction to the government to stop all construction activities in the bird’s habitat immediately, the petitioners sought measures to protect the endangered species.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 10:19:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/what-steps-have-been-proposed-to-protect-the-great-indian-bustard-asks-hc/article33260385.ece

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