Tracking and Monitoring The Great Indian Bustard
Great Indian Bustard is one of the largest flying birds in the world. This species of bird was available in quite good numbers during the 19th century. But today, this bird is on the way to getting extinct and only a few around 250 birds of this species are remaining in few places of Pakistan and India –mainly Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. Their habitat mainly consist of dry and hot green lands. Hence you can see these birds mainly in summer. Scientific name given to this, bird is Ardeotis Nigrices.
The male varieties of the Great Indian Bustards can be differentiated from the females by the presence of the GULAR pouches. This species of bird breeds mainly during the season of monsoons. The little chicks are taken care of by the mothers mostly. This bird is provided with safety guard in India as it is listed in the Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act of India of 1972. In fact, a wide range of protected areas are built to protect the Great Indian Bustard –
- Naliya of Gujarat
- Rollapadu of Andhra Pradesh
- Desert National Park of Rajasthan
The Great Indian Bustard is known as the opportunist eaters. Actually, their diet depends on the availability of the seasonal foods. The list of favorite foods of this bird includes the grass seeds, the insects like the beetles, grasshoppers, some small reptiles and rodents. In fact, pods of legumes, millets, and the groundnuts are also the parts of their food habit.
In view to conserve these endangered species of Great Indian Bustards, the Forest Department of Maharashtra have fitted a platform terminal transmitter (solar-powered) to a male variety of GIB in Warora, in coordination with the Wildlife Institute of India. In this context it should be mentioned that GIBs are also known as the Maldhok popularly and they enjoy the highest protection level in India.
Moreover, Maharashtra has received the permission to fit a couple of more PTTs in female varieties of GIB from MoEF. The whole project is named as – ‘Tracking Movement of GIBs in Maharashtra’. These PTTs will help the state in monitoring the movement and ecology of the birds in a great deal, which actually will turn out deciding the ways to save this endangered species of bird. This project will be headed by two prominent scientists from WII – Mr. Gautam Talukdar and Bilal Habib. In fact, expert trappers like Sikander Hussain and his father Ali Hussain will assist them in this operation, which will be held at the spots from Ashti.
The additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests for Ecotourism and Wildlife Administration described the whole operation in brief. He told that it took only 15 minutes to fit the PTT on the particular bird, which was started at 5.30 PM. This whole project costs about 3.7 million INR. In fact, the PTTs will cost 0.4 million INR each. The Government of Maharashtra will be 2.7 million INR to WII for this project. Renowned GIB experts like Gopal Thosar have appreciated this move.
There is a will be a Great Indian Bustard census held in Gujarat during the month of January – February.
During the last Bustard census about 50 birds were sighted. This year the count is expected to raise.
Counting these birds becomes difficult for the volunteers as they keep moving constantly. The move around a radius of 50 to 100 Km.