The state bird and critically endangered Great Indian Bustard has found a new habitat. A flock of 24 GIBs was recently spotted in the grasslands of Salkha area, 45 km from Jaisalmer district. Of them, 21 were males and three females.
This is a great news for Bird lovers all around the world! Population of this bird has decreased alarmingly majorly due to loss of habitat.
The area is situated outside the Desert National Park and the forest department, for security reasons, has set up a temporary check post.
Conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts are excited at the prospect of the birds finding a new habitat. The state government has approved Rs 4.5 crore for conservation and promotion of GIBs, which fall under schedule-1 category of endangered species.
Chief conservator of forest (wildlife) Dr Govind Sagar Bhardwaj confirmed the spotting of GIBs in the Salkha area. The area is new for the birds as earlier they were spotted at Sudashri closure or the national park.
The recent development has given hope to the forest department to make all possible efforts for conservation of the birds.
“The grassland is part of sacred groves or ‘oraans’ spread over 40 sq km. Little human disturbance, low grazing pressure and minimum encroachment for human settlement provide an ideal location for the GIBs. In just two hours, I could spot 24 birds,” Bhardwaj said.
He said the area can be developed as an alternative habitat for the birds. “It is located 30km north of the Sudashri enclosure. There is a need to create awareness among locals to conserve the habitat,” he said.
Chairman of Wildlife Trust of India Ranjit Singh said the immediate efforts have to be made to conserve the new-found habitat. A high-level meeting was organized in New Delhi to discuss ways to conserve GIB habitats and directions in this regard were given to the officials.
Singh said this is the mating and breeding season of the birds and priority must be given to ensure the eggs of GIBs are safe. In some instances, tourists carry the egg from a place to another, therefore, denying it the mother’s warmth required for hatching.
Source: Times Of India