About 150 Great Indian Bustards in the Jaisalmer area of desert park: report
JAIPUR: There are 150 of the critically endangered Great
Indian Bustards (GIBs) in the Jaisalmer area of the Desert
National Park (DNP) in Thar. This was submitted in the ‘factual
report’ by the state forest department following a directive of the
National Green Tribunal
The NGT had directed the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to submit the ‘factual report’ in two months on a petition filed by the Centre for Wildlife and Environment Litigation (CWEL).
“Acting on the directive, the report has been forwarded to the chief wildlife warden. In our report, we have surveyed and found 150 GIBs in the Jaisalmer area of the DNP,” a forest official from Jaisalmer said.
The petitioner had also noted that wind power projects and transmission lines were proving to be a major hazard for the survival of the endangered species in the desert area.
Most of the wind power projects are located in the natural habitat of the bird in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Due to their weight, GIBs cannot fly at a high altitude and get caught in power lines. Experts have constantly laid stress on the need to having dedicated sanctuaries for them.
As per the 30th Forest Advisory Committee report, transmission lines should pass underground in the natural habitats of GIBs.
Bhanu Bansal, secretary of CWEL said, “Rajasthan has the highest number of GIBs in the country at the moment. However, the government is moving at a snail’s pace for conserving them. Many birds die every year from colliding with power lines of wind energy projects. But no effort has been made to install ‘bird diverters’ on these power lines. Moreover, no measure has been taken to curb the menace of feral dogs and foxes in the park.” ‘It’s a duty to protect these birds’
The bird was listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2013. The IUCN report had pointed out that in the absence of a proper land distribution policy, the habitat of the bird has been encroached upon.
“It’s the chief wildlife warden’s duty to protect these birds. Rajasthan is blessed to have this unique species. But unfortunately, neither the government nor experts in this field seem to be pushing this cause,” Bansal of CWEL added.