The semi arid grasslands of Kutch in Gujarat are one of the few abodes of the critically endangered Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps), popularly known as the Great Indian Bustard. Though Kutch has been known for its second highest breeding population for this species, severe pressures of habitat loss due to unplanned industrialisation and agricultural encroachment over the past few years has resulted with a drastic decline in the population of this majestic bird. The population estimates reveal an estimated population of around 30 birds in Kutch out of the total population of less than 300 birds surviving in the wild today. The Indian Bustard shares its habitat with other species of the bustard family – MacQueen’s Bustard (Chlamydotis macqueeni) and Lesser Florican (Spheotides indica), both vulnerable and endangered respectively as per the IUCN Red List.
All these 30-odd Indian Bustards survive in the Abdasa taluka of Kutch district. India has declared 13 sanctuaries for the protection of this bird. One of these, the Kutch Bustard Sanctuary spread over a mere 2 sq km, is located near Lala village near Naliya in Abdasa taluka. However, a major breeding population of Indian Bustards thrives outside the protected area, in Abdasa taluka. The areas outside this notified Protected Area serve as the breeding, display and wintering areas of these birds. Apart from the reasons of habitat loss as mentioned above, constant threat from uncontrolled cattle grazing over its potential habitat is taking these birds closer to extinction. And this despite the fact that the Indian Bustard is included in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India.
It is absolutely essential to stop and remove the encroachment from the important areas for GIB. Industrial projects cannot be sanctioned on the land used by Indian Bustards. The Corbett Foundation appeals to the State Government of Gujarat and the Ministry of Environment of Forests, Government of India to take immediate action to protect the Indian Bustard habitat and save this species from extinction in Gujarat. All local and national NGOs, bird-watchers, naturalists, conservationists, scientists and the people of India and the world must come together and in unison make the plea to save Indian Bustards. This might be the LAST call to save this magnificent species from Gujarat.
We appeal to all to sign the online petition and help in strengthening our efforts to save the critically endangered Indian Bustards.
Kutch Ecological Research Centre, a division of The Corbett Foundation in Kutch, has launched a campaign to Save Indian Bustards. Massive conservation awareness programmes in the nearby villages and schools, and advocacy drives are undertaken in support of the Indian Bustards. Those who wish to support our Save Indian Bustard Campaign, may please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to download The Corbett Foundation's report - The Last Call to Save Indian Bustard in Kutch, Gujarat, India
Click here to read an article titled - Bustards in Decline - from Sanctuary Asia, February 2014.
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