Great Indian Bustard
Why in news?
Surveys in Andhra Pradesh’s Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary and surrounding areas have failed to spot the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (GIB) for the past two years, indicating a concerning decline in its population.
GS – 03 (Conservation, Government Policies & Interventions)
The Great Indian Bustard:
- The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps), honored as the State bird of Rajasthan, stands as India’s most critically endangered avian species.
- Regarded as a symbol of the grassland ecosystem’s vitality, its distribution is primarily restricted to Rajasthan and Gujarat, with smaller populations persisting in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
- It is classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and included in Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).
- Additionally, it is protected under Schedule I of India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.
Efforts to safeguard the species encompass a range of initiatives:
- The species recovery programme, overseen by the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC), focuses on the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats.
- National Bustard Recovery Plans, currently underway through conservation agencies, strive to bolster conservation endeavors.
- A significant milestone was achieved with the establishment of a conservation breeding facility at Desert National Park in Jaisalmer, a joint effort involving MoEF&CC, the Rajasthan government, and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). This facility aims to bolster the captive population of Great Indian Bustards and facilitate their eventual release into the wild.
- The Project Great Indian Bustard, spearheaded by the Rajasthan government, aims to establish breeding enclosures and develop infrastructure to alleviate human pressures on their habitats.
- Complementary efforts include a Task Force dedicated to proposing eco-friendly measures to mitigate the impact of power transmission infrastructure on wildlife, including the Great Indian Bustard.
About Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary:
- Location and Name: Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Rollapadu Bird Sanctuary, is situated in Andhra Pradesh, India.
- Habitat for Great Indian Bustard: The sanctuary is renowned for hosting a significant population of the Great Indian Bustard, a critically endangered species.
- Landscape: Its landscape primarily consists of arid and semi-arid grasslands, offering an ideal habitat not only for the Great Indian Bustard but also for various other grassland bird species.
- Terrain Features: The terrain includes expansive open grasslands, along with scrub vegetation and small water bodies.
- Conservation Objective: Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary was established with the main aim of conserving the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard and its associated wildlife.
- Historical Significance: In a significant event in July 1984, the sanctuary gained prominence with the discovery of a flock of 35 Great Indian Bustards, highlighting its importance in the conservation efforts for this majestic bird species.