Karnataka ready to greet one more Great Indian Bustard, will take count to seven – The New Indian Express

There are only 100 left in the wild in the country and six are holding their ground in Karnataka.
Published: 19th October 2022 06:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th October 2022 06:19 AM   |  A+A-
The Great Indian Bustard at Siruguppa in Ballari | Indrajit Ghorpade
BELAGAVI: The Ministry of Environment and Forest in New Delhi held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the road map to save the critically endangered bird species of India, the Great Indian Bustard (GIB). The Karnataka government, however, has been working on the conservation of GIB for some time. There are only 100 left in the wild in the country and six are holding their ground in Karnataka.

The Great Indian Bustard are grassland bird species which coexisted with cheetahs, hyenas and wolves for long. But due to degradation of grassland habitat and hunting, the bird’s numbers started to dip.These birds have now been wiped out from 90% of their original distribution range. In Karnataka, these birds were found in many locations, including Tumakuru, Chitradurga, Gadag and Haveri. But now they are restricted only to Ballari. There are six GIBs in Siruguppa region of Ballari district and the state forest department has increased the protection for these birds.
The forest team involved in the monitoring and protection of these GIBs in Karnataka have noticed that one of the GIB pairs has laid an egg and is protecting it. This is great news for bird lovers and the forest department is doing everything to ensure protection of the new guest.
Ironically, the last surviving GIBs in Karnataka are found in agricultural fields than in the protected area earmarked for their conversation in Siruguppa. The Ballari division of the forest department which has taken up the GIB conservation programme has requested to increase the forest area to aid in the bird’s conservation.
“Everything that is required to protect the last surviving GIBs are being done by the department. We are creating awareness among the residents about the importance of conserving the  birds. Three anti-poaching camps have been set up in Siruguppa. A team of 12 forest staff are keeping constant watch on the bird movements and also ensuring that predators such as dogs and other animals do not harm them.. The State Government has responded positively to increase the current protection area as the six birds that are surviving here have a range of 200 sq km,” explained Sandip Suryawanshi, DCF, Ballari.
The forest department will also take up popularising its efforts to save the GIBs in Karnataka.  While Rajasthan has the highest numbers of GIBs among the last 100, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka share the remaining few. “The GIBs nest in the open, hence it becomes difficult to protect their eggs. The government must taken up artificial breeding of these birds before they go extinct from India,” suggested a wildlife expert.
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