Elevating the conservation status of the Great Indian Bustard, The Bird Life International and IUCN have declared the bird as a critically endangered species. The present population of Bustards stand at just 300 covering six states in India.
Due to conversion of grass lands for grazing and cultivation, use of pesticides, hunting pressures, this bird population are heavily scattered. It was due to these reasons that the Great Indian bustard was under the list of endangered species until the end of 2010. But now looking at the depleting numbers the status has been marked at Critically Endangered (CR).
The population of Great Indian bustard or ‘Ardeotis nigriceps’ was recoreded as 1,260 in the year 1969. Experts say their population is on the decline at a rate of 20%-29 percent. This alarming trend made experts from Bombay Natural History Society and that of Wild Life Institute of India to put up a proposal for up gradation to critically endangered category.
According to Pramod Patil who works for the protection and conservation of Great Indian bastards in Maharashtra the census count of the birds at the Nannaj Bird Santuary in Maharashtra alone was 21 birds in the year 2009, sliding down to just nine in 2010.
He added that local people admitted to hunting and killing of Bustard in the sanctuary area. Also no birds breeding were recorded at the breeding point in the sanctuary in the last three years.
He also said “Increased density of high tension electric wires in the sanctuary has increased chances of bustard collisions and subsequent death of adults. Thus, in this current situation, the up gradation of the Great Indian bustard to critically endangered will give priority to its conservation.”
For the species in the verge of extinction it might be good to elevate status from endangered to critically endangered, but how much this reciprocates in the actual conservation and increase in population of the bird, only time will tell.
– Atula Gupta