Indian Government seeks Army’s help to save the Great Indian Bustard

The Indian Government has decided to take the help of the Indian Army to help conserve a part of the population of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard bird who’s current range current extends into the Pokhran firing range of Rajasthan.

What has happened?

  • The Indian Government has decided to enlist the help of the Indian Army to conserve the rapidly dying out Great Indian Bustard.
  • This decision was taken after the second meeting of the steering committee which is formed under the Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican Conservation Breeding and Research Programme were organized in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
  • The Government data shows that a part of the Bustard population in India is found in the Pokhran firing range of India and efforts should be made to conserve them.

About the Great Indian Bustard

  • The great Indian bustard (binomial name – Ardeotis nigriceps) is a species of bustard which is found only in the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is a large bird with a huge horizontal body and long bare legs, which makes it resemble an ostrich.
  • However, unlike an ostrich, the great Indian bustard is one of the heaviest flying birds in India.
  • The habitat of the bird consists of large expanses of dry grassland and scrub and is often found together with the blackbuck.
  • While these birds were once found very commonly on the dry plains of the Indian subcontinent, today, most have died out and by most estimates, less than 150 individuals are surviving in the wild in 2018. This is a major fall from nearly 250 individuals recorded in 2011.

Challenges to the Great Indian Bustard

  • The species is currently under threat by hunting and loss of its habitat and is now a critically endangered species.
  • Threats to the bird include high voltage power lines, wind power turbines, antelopes and dogs which attack & eat the young of the bird.
  •  These birds are protected under Wildlife Protection Act 1972 of India.

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