A breeding centre will soon be set up in Sorsan, Kota, to boost the population of Great Indian Bustard (GIB), environment minister Anil Madhav Dave said in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
Responding to a question, he said the ministry has taken up the initiative to conserve the critically endangered bird with technical supervision of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). The minister added that the objective of the programme was to build a captive population of the GIB and to release the chicks in the wild for increasing their population.
The states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra are the states involved in this programme.
Dave said a workshop on the role and importance of the Indian Army in the conservation of the GIB — a large ostrich-like bird — was organised at the Jodhpur Command Warfare Centre to seek the army’s cooperation in GIB conservation because about 50% of the global population of GIB is found in areas controlled by the army.
“Permission has been granted to install satellite tags on six birds for monitoring and tracking its location,” said Dave and added that the WII has received funding from the ministry to establish the breeding facility in partnership with the Rajasthan forest department.
The forest department provided a list of 10 potential sites for setting up of the breeding facility. After consultation with expert Keith Scotland from Houbara Breeding Center, Uzbekistan, it was narrowed down to Sorsan near Kota.
Also, two weeks ago the National Green Tribunal had put a stop on the operation of wind turbines near the boundary of Desert National Park (DNP) in Jaisalmer as they pose a threat to the bird.
The NGT said that the bird’s conservation breeding programme be given top priority as the number of GIB’s is dwindling fast in the national park in Barmer and Jaisalmer districts. Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, in her budget speech for 2017-18, announced an outlay of ₹10 crore for the development of grasslands at the national park, which is spread across 3,162 square kilometres in the Thar Desert.