Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ideal Breeding Sites Recommended for Indian Bustards

Great Indian Bustard

Recently, environmentalists have expressed their concern over the lack of suitable breeding sites for the critically endangered great Indian bustard. This magnificent species of bird's population plummeted drastically in Solapur district's Nannaj Wildlife Sanctuary. A man named Pramod Patil, who has been active and protecting the bird, has written a letter to Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and the forest department urging them to accept the acclaimed 434 hectares of privately owned inside the sanctuary. This acquisition was recommended by the Bombay Natural History Society several years ago. Mr. Patil described the land as cutting across the core area of the sanctuary in the letter. Furthermore, the acceptance of this land would lead to forming of continuous grassland habitat that can be made into use by the birds for breeding. He also stated that the providing of undisturbed breeding sites is crucial for the bustards. Since last three years, he has not been getting record, due to heavy grazing, human interference, and heavy vehicles. He also hopes that this acquisition will happen before these birds become extinct.

I also hope that Mr. Patil's letter urging this acquisition will be taken into effect. The great Indian bustard is one of the most magnificent species of birds that had suffered during the ancient times as a gourmet delicacy for the Mughal emperors and later to British soldiers. While its numbers have been stable in different semi-arid parts of India, the Nannaj Wildlife Sanctuary has experienced a major decline in populations. I feel that it is extremely important and crucial to have proper breeding sites for these birds, along with education on their ecological importance. These methods had been used in the U.S to bring the California condor back from the brink of extinction. Now, it appears that the bustard is on that brink. If the Indian Government does not take the initiative in using these tactics along with conservation groups, then the Indian bustard will certainly disappear from Indian soil.

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