Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Species in news: Great Indian Bustards


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Great Indian Bustards

Mains level: Not Much

The Environment Ministry has informed the Parliament that there were no Great Indian Bustards (GIB) left in Kutch Bustard Sanctuary (KBS) in Gujarat’s Kutch district.

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.
  • GIBs’ historic range included much of the Indian sub-continent but it has now shrunken to just 10 percent of it. Among the heaviest birds with flight, GIBs prefer grasslands as their habitats.
  • GIBs are considered the flagship bird species of grassland.

On the brink of extinction

  • The GIB population in India had fallen to just 150.
  • Pakistan is also believed to host a few GIBs and yet openly supports their hunting.

Protection accorded

  • Birdlife International: uplisted from Endangered to Critically Endangered (2011)
  • Protection under CITES: Appendix I
  • IUCN status: Critically Endangered
  • Protection under Wildlife (Protection) Act: Schedule I


  • Overhead power transmission
  • Poor vision: Due to their poor frontal vision, can’t detect powerlines in time and their weight makes in-flight quick maneuvers difficult.
  • Windmills: Coincidentally, Kutch and Thar desert are the places that have witnessed the creation of huge renewable energy infrastructure.
  • Noise pollution: Noise affects the mating and courtship practices of the GIB.
  • Changes in the landscape: by way of farmers cultivating their land, which otherwise used to remain fallow due to frequent droughts in Kutch.
  • Cultivation changes: Cultivation of cotton and wheat instead of pulses and fodder are also cited as reasons for falling GIB numbers.

Supreme Court’s intervention

  • The Supreme Court has ordered that all overhead power transmission lines in core and potential GIB habitats in Rajasthan and Gujarat should be undergrounded.
  • The SC also formed a three-member committee to help power companies comply with the order.

Conservation measures

  • In 2015, the Central government launched the GIB species recovery program.
  • Under the program, the WII and Rajasthan Forest departments have jointly set up conservation breeding centers where GIB eggs are harvested from the wild.
  • They have been incubated artificially and hatchlings raised in a controlled environment.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.Consider the following pairs:

Protected Area :: Well-known for

  1. Bhiterkanika, Odisha — Salt Water Crocodile
  2. Desert National Park, Rajasthan — Great Indian Bustard
  3. Eravikulam, Kerala — Hoolock Gibbon

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched? (CSP 2014)

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2

(c) 2 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

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