India succeeds in breeding the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard
India has reportedly succeeded in the breeding of the bird species Great Indian bustard (scientific name: Ardeotis nigriceps) through a state-sponsored conservation program. The Great Indian Bustard (GIB) had been listed as a "critically endangered" avian species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). GIB's population had reportedly fallen to 150, according to official data. Here are more details.
According to a report by Weather.com, nine eggs of the bird were collected from the Desert National Park in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan during summer, last year. The eggs were then artificially incubated and the chicks were hand-reared at a work-station. At present, the chicks are healthy. Out of the nine, seven are female, one male, and the gender of one is yet to be determined.
The ten-year-long project is led by Arindam Tomar, Chief Wildlife Warden of Rajasthan's Forest Department. The Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was also invited, while the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) granted the required funds for the project. Abu Dhabi-based National Avian Research Center was also roped in for expert assistance.
Earlier, the WII found in a survey that only 150 GIBs had remained in the wild. Their count was 1,200-1,500 in the 1970s, but shrunk to just around 250 by 2011. The major reasons cited for their drastic decline were large-scale unchecked habitat loss, increased poaching, predators (such as feral dogs and eagles), and insufficient measures by state and central governments.
While successful breeding of the GIB is surely good news, the government's take on conservation of several endangered species remains worrisome. The major reasons for country's low productivity on endangered species are shortage of employees, inadequate facilities, and a serious lack of research and experimentation.