Becoming aware of the high mortality rate among Great Indian bustard, the National Green Tribunal has directed the Centre to prepare a time-bound action plan within two months for its protection. Also, a Joint Committee was constituted to prepare an action plan for the implementation of suggestions submitted by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) over the issue. Threats to their survival
- Collisions with power-lines that crisscross their flying paths have been the major cause for high adult mortality among Great Indian Bustard.
- According to the 30th Forest Advisory Committee meeting, power lines, especially high-voltage transmission lines with multiple overhead wires, are the major threat to the critically endangered species.
- The biggest threat to this species is hunting, which is still prevalent in Pakistan.
- Collision with fast-moving vehicles and prey by free-ranging dogs in villages.
- Other threats include habitat loss and alteration as a result of widespread agricultural expansion and mechanized farming, infrastructural development such as irrigation, roads, electric poles, as well as mining and industrialization.
Measures suggested by WII (Wildlife Institute of India)
- Mitigation of all power transmission lines passing through priority bustard habitats, disallowing new wind turbines, solar farms, etc.
- Training the forest department in smart patrolling tools along with other conservation organizations to improve protection.
- Controlling poaching of Great Indian Bustard and other wildlife in the Thar landscape
About Great Indian bustard Status of Great Indian Bustard
- Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, in the CMS Convention and in Appendix I of CITES.
- Categorized under Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016).
- It has also been identified as one of the species for the recovery program under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.
HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION of Great Indian Bustard
- Historically, the great Indian bustard was distributed throughout Western India, spanning 11 states, as well as parts of Pakistan.
- Its stronghold was once the Thar Desert in the north-west and the Deccan plateau of the peninsula. Today, its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat.
- Small population occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- Bustards generally favor flat open landscapes with minimal visual obstruction and disturbance, therefore adapt well in grasslands.
- In the non-breeding season they habitat wide agro-grass scrub landscapes.
- While in the breeding season (summers and monsoons) they congregate in traditional undisturbed grassland patches characterized by a mosaic of scantily grazed tall grass (below 50 cm).
- They avoid grass taller than themselves and dense scrub like thickets.