1500 hectare land allocated for bustard habitat

Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad

There is some good news for the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) the ‘Critically Endangered’ bird species. The Gujarat state government has allotted 1500 hectares of land in Nalia taluka of Kutch for the development of a habitat for the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard.

The land has been allocated to the forest department. This land is near the Kutch Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary. The land is spread across two square Kms in Nalia taluka, which is a prime breeding ground for the species.

The Great Indian Bustard (GIB) was up-listed to ‘Critically Endangered,’ the highest level of threat, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in June this year. According to IUCN, hunting, disturbance, habitat loss and fragmentation have all conspired to reduce this magnificent species to perhaps as few as 250.

A report by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) claims the population of the GIB has been falling very fast and the bustards have disappeared from about 90 per cent of its range, while there has been a 75 per cent decline within three generations.

The forest department plans to develop natural grass land in the area. Presently the area allotted is spoiled due to agricultural activity and human interference.

The GIB is found in arid and semi-arid grasslands and scrubs containing scattered bushes and some cultivation. Their highest living number is found in Rajasthan, followed by Gujarat. As per the last census in 2007 there were 47 bustards in the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary.

The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) was once found in large numbers across the grasslands of India and Pakistan. It is a large bird with a horizontal body and long bare legs giving it an ostrich like appearance and is among the heaviest of the flying birds. It is a meter in height and weighs nearly 15 kg.

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