Watch | Why is the Great Indian Bustard endangered?

A video explaining why the Great Indian Bustard, India’s most critically endangered bird, is facing a threat to survival.

January 06, 2023 11:36 am | Updated 12:03 pm IST

The Great Indian bustard or GIB is the State bird of Rajasthan. It is also considered India’s most critically endangered bird and is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act.

Its population of about 150 in Rajasthan accounts for 95% of its total world population. But GIBs have been facing a threat to their survival because of intensive agricultural practices, laying of power lines and industrialisation.

It led to the Supreme Court directing the Chief Secretaries of Gujarat and Rajasthan to undertake a comprehensive exercise for saving GIBs. It will include finding out the total length of transmission lines in question and the number of bird diverters required.

Why do power lines pose a threat?

The GIBs are large birds standing about one metre tall and weighing about 15 to 18 kgs. They are not great fliers and have wide sideways vision to maximise predator detection. But the species’ frontal vision is narrow.

These birds cannot detect power lines from far and since they are heavy fliers, they fail to manoeuvre across power lines within close distances. This makes them vulnerable to collision with power lines. In most cases, death is due to collision rather than electrocution.

What steps have been taken?

A total of 16 GIB chicks, artificially hatched from eggs collected from the wild, are being reared in the satellite conservation breeding facility in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. The objective is to build the captive population of the GIBs and to release the chicks in the wild. The initiative is likely to take 20 to 25 years.

Wildlife enthusiasts believe that more areas outside the protected area must be made suitable for the species. Experts are also calling for community-centric conservation of the critically endangered species.

Read more here

Reporting: Shiv Sahay Singh

Voiceover & Production: Abhinaya Sriram

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