Sunday, August 21, 2011

Maharashtra to Set Up Protection Task Force for the Great Indian Bustard

Great Indian bustard

The great Indian bustard has been labeled as a critically endangered species due to threats of habitat destruction and low genetic diversity, particularly in the Indian state of Maharashtra. But now, this magnificent bird is facing hope as a task force will be set up for its protection. This task force will be set up under the chairmanship of Patangrao Kadam, the state forests minister. He told that the purpose of the force will be to toughen the conservation of these great birds. It will be a multidisciplinary team consisting of academicians, experts, NGOs, and officers from the forest department who will investigate various problems with the conservation and suggest solutions for improvements.

Minister Kadam further added that in order to create public awareness, a book on bustard information will be distributed among schoolchildren. In addition to that, habitat management for breeding of the bird will be taken up in other places in which core areas will be identified. He was also keen on the issue of shortage of forest guards, in which he added that a recruitment of 1,600 forest guards will take place. This way, the strength in staff will be increased for monitoring. According to M.K Rao, Pune's chief conservator of forests, once the force is formed, it will commence a great deal of conservation measures as its guiding standards. He further added that the forest department is currently working on proper habitat management that the areas are free of disturbance and have appropriate climatic condition. Pramod Patil, director of the Great Indian Bustard Foundation, praised the movement saying Maharashtra will be the first state to have such a task force. He further added that it will help in the planning and development of directions, which will go a long way in protection of the birds.

I'm very happy and proud to see what step Maharashtra has taken, in order to help the great Indian bustard. Not only has it established a partnership with the local people, but will soon form a task force committed to the cause of reviving the last remaining populations of these birds. There are currently 300 of these birds in India, with 30-35 in Maharashtra alone. These birds are facing a massive decline in population due to habitat loss, change in crop pattern, and other developmental activities. But now, with the establishment of this task force underway, the birds are now on the verge of facing a bright future. I was amazed to see that as part of public awareness, a book about bustards will be given to local children. This is a prime example of inspiring and encouraging the younger generation about the importance of caring for and conserving the local ecosystem and the wildlife that makes its home there. In addition to that, I was also impressed to see that part of this procedure will be a recruitment of forest guards. This will help put in prevention of any poaching activities of the bustards. Overall, I have a feeling that this movement will guarantee a better and safe future for the Indian bustard. However, I also believe that if Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and other states that house this bird will follow this example, it would help increase the its population of India.

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