The Government of India has taken eight key steps for the protection of the Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) in the country, including details of captive breeding facilities, said a press release by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change on March 14.
The information was shared by Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change in Lok Sabha.
As per the press release, studies conducted by Wildlife Institute of India said that there are around 150 Great Indian Bustards left across the country which includes about 128 birds in Rajasthan and less than 10 birds each in the States of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Here are the eight steps suggested by the government for the protection of GIBs:
1. A site for establishment of a ‘Conservation Breeding Center’ for the Great Indian Bustard has been identified at Kota District, Rajasthan in consultations with State Forest Departments of Rajasthan and Gujarat, Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and international experts, under the project titled ‘Habitat Improvement and Conservation Breeding of Great Indian Bustard-an integrated approach’.
2. Currently, a satellite conservation breeding facility with incubator, hatcher, chick rearing and housing for captive birds has been set up at Sam, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan and is managed by WII Scientists, Rajasthan Forest Department with the technical assistance of the International Fund for Houbara Conservation and Reneco, Abu Dhabi. A total of sixteen (16) GIB chicks, (artificially hatched from eggs collected from wild) are being reared presently in the satellite conservation breeding facility at Sam, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
3. The Great Indian Bustard is listed in Schedule-I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, thereby, according to it, the highest degree of legal protection from hunting.
4. Important habitats of Great Indian Bustards are designated as National Parks/Sanctuaries for their better protection.
5. The species has been identified for conservation efforts under the component ‘Species Recovery Programme’ of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS)-Development of Wildlife Habitat. Financial and technical assistance is provided to the State/Union Territory Governments under the centrally sponsored scheme of ‘Development of Wildlife Habitat’ for providing better protection to Great Indian Bustard and its habitat.
6. Ministry has taken up an initiative on conservation breeding of the Great Indian Bustard in collaboration with Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra forest departments and technical support from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. The Ministry with financial support from national authority for ‘Compensatory Afforestation Funds’ has sanctioned an outlay of Rs. 33.85 crores for the duration of five years for the programme titled ‘Habitat Improvement and Conservation Breeding of Great Indian Bustard-an integrated approach’. The objective of this programme is to build a captive population of Great Indian Bustard and to release the chicks in the wild for increasing the population and also to promote in-situ conservation of the species.
7. A task force has been created for suggesting eco-friendly measures to mitigate impacts of power transmission lines and other power transmission infrastructures on wildlife including the Great Indian Bustard.
8. The Great Indian Bustard has been included in the Appendix I of Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).
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