JAIPUR: In an unique initiative to counter the existential crisis gripping Rajasthan’s state bird, the Great Indian Bustard (GIB), a first-of-its-kind breeding centre is being set up in Baran district of Rajasthan.
A breeding technique for birds developed in Abu Dhabi is being used for this GIB breeding programme.
Popularly known as “Godawan” and found largely in the desert zone, the population of the GIB has dwindled dramatically in the country from over 1,200 around 1970 to barely about 150 today!
Classified as a ‘critically endangered’ species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the GIB comes under Schedule 1 of the Wild Life Protection Act. To establish the Breeding Centre, a tripartite MoU has been signed between the Government of India, the Government of Rajasthan and the Wildlife Institute of India.
The Breeding Centre will be created in Sorsen in Baran district through a special grant from the Ministry of Environment and Forest and its entire programme will be supervised by the WII.
According to Rajasthan Chief Wildlife Warden GV Reddy, the reason for choosing Sorsen is that it has adequate rainfall, low temperature and considerable humidity along with lots of grass, all of which makes Sorsen specially suitable for the breeding of Godawan.
He said that a special fund of Rs 34 crore had been allocated to set up the breeding programme.
“If not saved now, the GIB will become extinct within a decade. Since it breeds very slowly in natural habitat, we will collect the eggs and breed them in a hatchery where mortality rate is less. Also, more funds will be allotted for habitat development” said Reddy.