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| Last Updated:: 31/12/2015

MoEF and WII to begin captive breeding of Great Indian Bustard








In a move to boost the dwindling population of Great Indian Bustard, the union environment ministry and Wildlife Institute of India are joining hands for breeding of the wild bird. The Great Indian Bustard (GIB) is a critically endangered bird and is on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. From thousands, its numbers in India has dropped to merely 200 individuals across Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh due to loss of grassland and scrub habitat and conversion of this habitat into croplands.



In Maharashtra, it is believed that the Bustard is inching towards extinction with a population of just six individuals. The bird stands tall at one metre and weighs around 15 kgs.



Providing protection to GIB eggs and hand rearing of the chicks is the first stage of the project. Subsequently, the hand reared chicks will be released in wild across other habitats to repopulate them and encourage breeding.



Rajasthan currently has the largest - nearly 170 - GIB population but location and temperature-wise, Gujarat has more potential for success in captive breeding, ministry officials said. The GIB breeds slowly and its productivity depends on environment moisture, temperature and nutrition. Mandvi, Gujarat is about five kms from the sea and provides an ideal site for the bird to lay its eggs. The ministry has thus planned to start a breeding facility in Gujarat, and it is proposed to be followed up with facilities in Rajasthan and Maharashtra.



Annually, GIB lays one egg and two eggs on some rare occasions. But with proper nutrition, ideal location, temperatures, food and management they can produce more than two eggs per year. The ministry has envisaged that about 25-50 eggs of GIB will be collected from wild habitats over a period of five years. These eggs will be incubated, hatched and their chicks will be reared to achieve a breeding population target of 50-100.


The union environment ministry has approved a budget of Rs.33.85 crore for the project. While Rs.81.7 lakh has been sanctioned for Rajasthan, Maharashtra will receive Rs.1.38 crore. Gujarat's share of Rs.1.10 crore is still under process.