Taking strict measures to save the small population of Great Indian Bustards in India, the Minsitry of Environment has banned the photography of the bird during breeding season which starts in April. The move has been made to give the rare birds a chance to nest peacefully.
The Great Indian Bustard was once found in almost all the northern plains of India but now it’s presence has been observed only in five states, namely, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
It’s population is estimated to be 250 in the wild and last year the bird was declared as Critically Endangered by International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Taking notice of the crticial status of the bird which was once being considered to be made the national bird of India, the environment ministry set up a Project Bustard last year to take some rapid actions for conservation of the species.
The latest move, by the ministry is to ban photography of the bird during the breeding season from April till October.
The Bustard is a shy bird that remains hidden in its grassland habitat. While habitat destruction and fragmented grassland distribution has become a problem for the species, what experts have also observed is that the birds often get scared if they find human presence near their nests. In past years, their fear of humans has affected the bird population with not many visiting their nests again once they have been scared off.
The ministry statement reads,
“Unethical photography during breeding season often acts as a constant source of disturbance to the bustards and disturbs breeding patterns.”
Hailing this move, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) expert Asad Rahmani said,
“With the breeding season setting in, the respective sanctuary managements should issue caution notes to keep over-enthusiastic photographers at bay. This is extremely necessary for healthy breeding.”
It is only the next population census which will bring assuring news of whether the present ban actually helps in increasing the numbers of Great Indian Bustards.
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