New habitat for Great Indian Bustard habitat found in Jaisalmer
The Great Indian Bustard, a charismatic species, which had missed out on becoming the National Bird of India because of Nehru’s apprehension about the proclivity of Indians to misspell English words, is in a steep decline and is now limited to a few spots of its former range. In this backdrop, recently that was an exciting news of a sighting of a flock of 24 GIBs (Great Indian Bustards) in the grasslands of Salkha area, 45 km from Jaisalmer district. Of them, 21 were males and three females.
The area is situated outside the Desert National Park and the forest department, for security reasons, has set up a temporary check post. The sighting of Great Indian Bustards in Salkha area was confirmed by Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Dr. Govind Sagar Bharadwaj. He said that "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," and called for the development of this area as an alternative habitat for Great Indian Bustards. "It is located 30km north of the Sudashri enclosure. There is a need to create awareness among locals to conserve the habitat," he further added.
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.