The population of Great Indian Bustard, the state bird of Rajasthan, has seen some serious decline in the recent decades. Ever since the beginning of the census in, the population of the specie has come down gradually to 125 adults in 2013 from 745 in 1978, enlisting the bird in the ‘critically endangered’ category.
The issue has raised some serious concerns, inducing the central government to make the decision to establish Wildlife Institute of India along with some captive breeding centers for the bird, as it has now become apparent that under natural conditions the both the survival and breeding chances for the specie is quite low.
For the purpose, government has chosen ten locations in Rajasthan including Tal Chappar in Churu, Sonkhaliya in Ajmer, etc. Considering Godawan (as the Great Indian Bustard is known in the state) is the state bird of Rajasthan, the decision of choosing the state for the establishment doesn’t raise any wonder. Another factor to support the rationality of the decision is that the highest population of the bird is found in Rajasthan, second highest being in Gujarat. The same factor may contribute in the selection of Jaisalmer district for establishing the captive breeding center, since it is in the district most of the GIB population is concentrated.
If the plan is executed successfully the center would be the first of its kind to be established in not only the state but the nation. Outside of India, another such running institution is in Abu Dubai that is working to raise the population of Houbara Bustard.
Apart from the setting up of the captive breeding center, a workshop on the subject too is scheduled to take place this month, in which officials of Forest department will participate along with some subject experts from outside. Furthermore, some other protected closures for the specie alone will also be developed to support their survival.