What are Great Indian Bustards?

The Great Indian Bustard is one of the heaviest flying birds in the world. It is native to the Indian subcontinent. The species is critically endangered due to habitat loss, hunting, and other human activities. Conservation efforts are underway to protect the bird and prevent it from becoming extinct. These include habitat restoration, captive breeding, and education campaigns to raise awareness.

Why are Great Indian Bustards in News?

The Draft Central Electricity Authority (Construction of Electric Lines in Great Indian Bustard Area) Regulations, 2023 was issued recently by the Central Electricity Authority to bring all-electric lines of 33 kV and below passing via the Great Indian Bustard Area underground while those above 33 kV will be overhead lines with bird flight diverts. However, petitioners are claiming that these regulations are in direct violation of the Supreme Court’s order regarding this endangered species. The Court had directed that all electricity lines passing through the species’ habitat must be underground.

How are the Great Indian Bustards affected by the Electric lines?

The Great Indian Bustards are the heaviest flying birds. They weigh around 15 kg and grow to a height of 1.2 metres. Their body size makes it difficult to notice the electric lines. They have frontal vision and therefore are dying due to collisions with these electric lines. Only 150 birds are left.

Where are Great Indian Bustards in India?

Today the last remaining 150 Great Indian Bustards are in the Thar desert and the Kutch desert. Centre is planning to develop solar projects of 39,000 MW in these regions. The overhead lines are for this purpose. But due to the concerns raised by the environmentalists, the SC ordered low-voltage power lines in the priority zones where the birds are living.

Conservation status of Great Indian Bustards

  • IUCN: Critically threatened
  • CITES Appendix I
  • Wildlife protection Act: Schedule I




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