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Less than 150 Great Indian Bustards Remained in Wild

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 01-04-2024
Less than 150 Great Indian Bustards Remained in Wild Environment 5 min read

The Supreme Court of India has decided to review its April 2021 order that all power lines in the habitat of the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) should be laid underground.

  • The decision was taken after the Center mentioned that it was practically impossible to enforce the order over long distances.

About Great Indian Bustard (GIB)

  • Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) are the largest among the four-bustard species found in India. They are terrestrial birds that spend most of their time on the ground, but occasionally fly from one part of their habitat to the other.
  • They eat insects, lizards and grass seeds, among other things, and are considered the dominant bird species of grasslands, making them good indicators of the health of grassland ecosystems.
  • Sadly, GIBs are critically endangered, and their numbers have dwindled to just 50 out of 249 bustards, according to the 2021 report of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 


  • They are mainly found in Rajasthan and Gujarat, and The Corbett Foundation (TCF) reports that less than 150 GIB are left in the wild.
  • GIBs' historic range once included much of the Indian subcontinent, but now it has shrunk to just 10 percent of it. 


  • These birds prefer grasslands as their habitats and face several threats, including overhead power transmission lines, free-ranging dogs, widespread use of pesticides in farmlands, loss of grassland, and an erosion of support from local communities.
  • Overhead power transmission lines are the biggest threat to GIBs, with Wildlife Institute of India (WII) scientists reporting that 18 GIBs die every year in Rajasthan after colliding with them. 
  • GIBs have poor frontal vision and cannot detect power lines in time. Their weight also makes quick in-flight manoeuvres difficult.

Conservation of GIB

  • Conservation measures have been initiated for the protection of GIBs. The Central government launched the GIB species recovery programme in 2015.
  • Under the programme, the WII and Rajasthan Forest department have jointly set up conservation breeding centres. 
  • These centres harvest the GIB eggs harvested from the wild and fertilized incubated artificially and hatchlings raised in a controlled environment. 
  • The plan is to create a population that can act as insurance against the threat of extinction and release the third generation of these captive-bred birds into the wild.
  • To protect GIBs from collisions, bird diverters have also been installed on power lines. These diverters act as reflectors that birds can see from about 50 meters away. 

Project Great Indian Bustard Rajasthan

  • In order to conserve the remaining population of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard, locally known as Godawan, the Rajasthan Government launched an ambitious conservation program on June 5th, 2013, called Project Great Indian Bustard. 
  • Despite being brought under the umbrella of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Great Indian Bustard did not receive the necessary attention and remained below the protection line (BPL). 
  • However, the Project Bustard is considered a new era for the conservation of neglected species like the Great Indian Bustard, which is also the state bird of Rajasthan and is probably more vulnerable to extinction than even the tiger.


Answer: In Rajasthan and Gujarat

Answer: 2013

Answer: Godawan
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