Thursday, November 24, 2011

Experts Recommend Captive Breeding for Great Indian Bustards

Great Indian bustard

It has been recently reported that experts in India have suggested urgent captive breeding for the great Indian bustards. This conservation strategy involves breeding of the species in human-controlled environments with restricted settings, and releasing them into the wild when the threats to the birds have decreased. Captive breeding is one of the recommendations included in the guidelines of the "Species Recovery Program." Brought up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), it is not only intended for saving the bustard but also for the lesser and Bengal florican. A report that was prepared by experts from the ministry, the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Wildlife Institute of India (WII), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and other NGOs and individuals has been sent to the MOEF for approval.
The Bengal florican is equally threatened as its larger relative above.

According to Asad Rahmani, the director of BNHS, the idea is to accessorize the species population. This involves captive breeding of the species and later releasing them into the wild. It will be done with in-situ conservation (on-site habitat conservation). He further added that the program's guidelines advises highly regulated tourism, including total restriction in breeding areas. B.C Chaudhary, a scientist for the WII who is involved developing the guidelines, stated that captive breeding for the bustards should be done by professional organizations. This means it is not required to keep them in zoos. Chief Conservator of Forests (Pune), M.K Rao, felt that captive breeding is essential to know the birds' ecology and movement pattern. He also added that telemetry and radio tracking should be taken up, in order to know the areas they are using. Finally, Pramod Patil, the director of the GIB Foundation, stated that the recovery plan is a three-step system consisting of the national plan, state plan, and site-specific plan where local aspects of bustard conservation are considered.
So is the lesser florican.

I also believe that captive breeding is essential for the conservation of great Indian bustards. In addition to that, this technique is also required both species of floricans as their numbers are also critically low. It is estimated that there are 30-35 bustards and 20-25 lesser floricans remaining in the state of Maharashtra. Both of these birds have suffered tremendously as a result of human pressure, as their habitats are gradually shrunk to give way to agriculture and infrastructure. This is why it is necessary for India to conduct captive breeding programs across its lands, in order to revive the populations of these birds. Just educating the public about their importance is not enough to save the species. Stronger steps in rehabilitation is also crucial for the survival of the species. In addition to that, I also believe that captive breeding should be imposed on other endangered species of India, including tigers and other well-known species. Zoos should also become involved in captive breeding. This was the case with the San Diego Zoo in an effort to save the California condor and the Arabian oryx. If India's zoos follow this example, then it would further help in the conservation of its wildlife. However, it is also important to note which species to help. Animals like the bustard can only receive help from professional organizations, as said by Mr. Chaudhary. But it is equally important that zoological facilities should step in to help with the wildlife conservation of India.

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