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| Last Updated:: 21/03/2016

Great Indian Bustards 'extinct' in Nashik region, not spotted since 2007








The majestic Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) are vanishing from sight, at least in the Nashik region.

According to forest officials, not a single GIB has been spotted in the region since 2007. Officials said three GIBs were seen in the Ozar air strip that year. In 2014, the forest department made an attempt to conserve the bird by conducting a survey in the areas where the GIB was spotted as well as fencing a grassland area in Ozarkhed near Vani. However, the department's attempts are yet to yield results.

"I have not seen a single GIB after 2007. It is likely that the bird has become extinct at least in the Nashik region. GIBs have not been reported anywhere else in Maharashtra either," said Arvind Patil, chief conservator of forests (territorial), Nashik circle.

In June 2014, the forest department started its preparations to conserve the critically endangered bird with the help of a token fund of Rs 8 lakh from the state government. A proposal to conserve the bird was sent in 2012 to the principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) in Nagpur, which was forwarded it to the central government.

The GIB conservation project was part of the state action plan under the bustards recovery programme of the Union ministry of environment and forests.


Accordingly, the grassland areas of Sinnar, Ahmednagar, Viajapur and Ozar where the bird was spotted in the early 2000s were surveyed.


"The bird, a friend of the farmer, was spotted in the grassland areas of Ozarkhed and nearby places. The bird was declared critically endangered in 2011 due to the declining grassland habitat," said a forest officer.


The 2011 GIB Census showed that there were less than 150 such birds in the wild and were found only in India and Pakistan. As many as 11 states in the country had GIBs in the 1960s. However, their presence was reduced to six states by 2005. Now, it is said that the GIBs exist in just five states across the country.



In 2000, the GIB became extinct in Madhya Pradesh where its presence was the maximum. Now, only Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are known to house GIBs. It has been included under Scheduled I of the Wildlife Protection Act. There are total nine sanctuaries in India for GIBs, the maximum in a country for one species of bird to be conserved.





Source: Times of India