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Great Indian Bustards

Great Indian Bustards- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 3: Environment- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

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Great Indian Bustards in news

  • As per the studies conducted by Wildlife Institute of India, there are around 150 Great Indian Bustards left across the country.
    • These includes about 128 birds in Rajasthan and less than 10 birds each in the States of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

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Great Indian Bustards

  • About: Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) are the largest among the four bustard species found in India, the other three being MacQueen’s bustard, lesser florican and the Bengal florican.
  • Habitat: In India, GIBs are confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small populations occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Preferred Habitation: Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) prefer grasslands as their habitats.
    • Being terrestrial birds, they spend most of their time on the ground with occasional flights to go from one part of their habitat to the other.
  • Feeding Pattern: Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) feed on insects, lizards, grass seeds etc.
  • Importance: GIBs are considered the flagship bird species of grassland and hence barometers of the health of grassland ecosystems.



Conservation Status of Great Indian Bustards (GIBs)

  • IUCN Status: IUCN has categorised GIBs as critically endangered.
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): GIBs are listed under Appendix 1 of the CITES.
  • Convention on Migratory Species (CMS): GIBs are listed under Appendix I of CMS.
    • Great Indian Bustard was also the mascot of the prestigious 13th CMS Conference of Parties held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Great Indian Bustards are listed under Schedule 1 of the WPA Act 1972.



Threats to Great Indian Bustards (GIBs)

  • Power Transmission Lines: WII have been pointing out overhead power transmission lines as the biggest threat to the GIBs.
    • WII research has concluded that in Rajasthan, 18 GIBs die every year after colliding with overhead powerlines.
    • This happens due to their poor frontal vision, as they can’t detect powerlines in time and their weight make in-flight quick manoeuvres difficult.
  • Development of Renewable energy infrastructure: Kutch and Thar desert are the places which have witnessed creation of huge renewable energy infrastructure over the past two decades.
    • These energy infrastructures are leading to installation of windmills and construction of power lines even in core GIB areas, causing deaths of Great Indian Bustards.
  • Change in Land use pattern: Change in landscape by way of farmers cultivating their land, which otherwise used to remain fallow due to frequent droughts in Kutch.
    • Cultivation of cotton and wheat instead of pulses and fodder are also cited as reasons for falling GIB numbers.

Environmental Performance Index 2022

Environmental Performance Index 2022

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