‘Great Indian Bustard’ in critically endangered stage
As per the 2013 ‘Threatened Bird’ list by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Great Indian Bustard is listed under the category of Critically Endangered birds.
The Great Indian Bustard (Scientific name: “Ardeotis nigriceps”) was once widely spotted across 11 Indian states, but now only less than 250 birds are left all across India. The destruction of the habitat is a primary threat to the bird’s endurance. The Great Indian Bustard is endemic to the Indian subcontinent. The Great Indian Bustard lives in short-grass plains and deserts in large arid landscapes.
Key reasons for the decrease in count of the Great Indian Bustard:-
- Habitat destruction- The change of land use from grassland to farmland, thus shrinking the bird’s habitat.
- Degradation and disturbance in existing grassland habitat
- Lack of importance for natural grassland conservation in policy, law and PA network due to incorrect perception on ecological value vis-a-vis forests
- Lack of protection for many ‘lekking’ and nesting sites
- Lack of cooperation between different departments/stakeholders in GIB habitats
- Lack of awareness and support from local communities
- Livestock overgrazing and feral dogs
- Disturbance by photographers — there is now plenty anecdotal evidence to demonstrate that photography of the species causes substantial disturbance
In a recent judgement, the Supreme Court had directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests to take steps for the recovery of the Great Indian Bustard.
Status of the Great Indian Bustard
- The Great Indian Bustard is now confined to only eight pockets in 6 Indian states — Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- The largest population (~50%) can be found in Jaisalmer, Barmer, and Bikaner districts of Rajasthan
- Great Indian Bustard is the State Bird of Rajasthan.
- Bird may be already extinct in Madhya Pradesh.