1. The Supreme Court is reconsidering its 2021 order on burying power lines in the habitat of the Great Indian Bustard.
    2. The government has raised concerns about the challenges and costs of implementing the order.
    3. A committee will be formed to suggest measures for the conservation of the Great Indian Bustard.
    4. The government is also working on initiatives like captive breeding to help conserve the Great Indian Bustard.

     

    About Great Indian Bustard (GIB)

    1. The Great Indian Bustard (GIB) (Ardeotis nigriceps) is a critically endangered bird species native to the Indian subcontinent.
    2. With less than 150 individuals left in the wild, the GIB faces several threats that are driving it towards extinction.
    3. The GIB mainly inhabits the grasslands and shrublands of the Thar Desert and Deccan Plateau in India.
    4. Its range has declined significantly due to habitat loss and fragmentation.
    5. This bird is now restricted to small areas in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

    Threats to the Great Indian Bustard

    1. Power Lines: High-tension power lines crossing the GIB's habitat pose a significant threat to the birds. Due to its large size and limited frontal vision, the GIB is prone to collision with these power lines, often resulting in death.
    2. Habitat Loss and Fragmentation: Conversion of grasslands and shrublands for agricultural purposes, industrial development and infrastructure projects has led to loss and fragmentation of gibbon habitat.
    3. Hunting: Although hunting GIBs is illegal in India, sporadic incidents of poaching still occur, further endangering the species.
    4. Pesticide Use: Widespread use of pesticides in agricultural areas near GIB habitats can lead to accumulation of toxins in the birds' bodies, which can negatively impact their health and reproduction.
    5. Free-ranging Dogs: The increasing population of free-ranging dogs in GIB habitat poses a threat to birds, especially during the breeding season when dogs may prey on eggs and chicks.

    Conservation Efforts

    • Habitat Protection: Efforts are underway to identify and conserve critical habitats for the Great Indian Bustard (GIB), such as the Thar Desert and the grasslands of the Deccan Plateau.
    • Power Line Mitigation: To reduce the risk of bird collisions, administration and conservation groups are working to install bird diverters on power lines and, in some situations, to bury the wires underground.
    • Captive Breeding: Conservationists have initiated captive breeding programs to increase GIB populations and eventually release the birds back into the wild.
    • In March 2023, the first successful captive hatching of a GIB chick was reported.
    • Community Involvement: Involving local communities in conservation efforts is important for the long-term survival of the species.
    • It is also important to raise awareness about the importance of GIB and its habitat.

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