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SC seeks government’s response on evolving ‘Project Great Indian Bustard’ conservation programme

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    3rd Dec, 2022


The Supreme Court sought the government's response about evolving a 'Project Great Indian Bustard' conservation programme to bring attention to the peril faced by the Species.


It is the State bird of Rajasthan and has its habitat mostly confined to the region of Rajasthan, and Gujarat.

  • The Great Indian Bustard (GIB) is considered India’s most critically endangered bird and is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act.
  • Its population of about 150in Rajasthan accounts for 95% of its total world population.
  • The captive breeding of GIBswas taken up in the Desert National Park through a project executed by the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India in 2019.


The Great Indian Bustard (GIBs):

  • The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps), is a bustard native to the Indian subcontinent. Bustards are large terrestrial birdsfound in dry grasslands and steppe regions.
  • It is also known as the Indian Bustard; it is among the heaviest flying birds in existence.
  • It is the State bird of Rajasthanand is considered India’s most critically endangered bird.
  • It is considered the flagship grassland species, representing the health of the grassland ecology.
  • The GIB is now found in a small number only in western Rajasthan, while Gujarat claims to have a few females left in its Banni Grassland Reserve.
  • Population:As per the last count of the GIB in 2018, there were around 127 birds in the Desert National Park or the DNP in Rajasthan.

Protection Status:

  • International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List: Critically Endangered
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I
  • Convention on Migratory Species (CMS): Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule 1

Reasons behind the declining population of GIBs:

  • As Rajasthan shares the international borderwith Pakistan’s Sindh and Punjab provinces, it is suspected that the GIBs might have flown across to the neighbouring country’s desert.
  • The GIBs in the Thar Deserthas been facing threat to their survival because of intensive agricultural practices, lying of power lines, and industrialization.
  • Experts have observed that the endangered birds have raised their families within the Desert National Park and outside in the rural pockets, where feed and grassland habitat is available.
  • They also move in the crop fields to pick up insects and lizards and like to hide there.

The GIB- Breeding Project: The WII's team has been working on ex-situ breeding of GIB for the last three years. They are aiming at preserving the GIBs.

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