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- Context (TH | HT): Supreme Court seeks centre’s views on balancing the preservation of Great Indian Bustard with India’s solar energy needs.
- The Great Indian bustard is a large bird with a horizontal body and long bare legs, giving it an ostrich-like appearance.
- Endemic to the Indian subcontinent, they are one of the heaviest-flying birds in the world.
- It is considered the flagship grassland species, representing the health of the grassland ecology.
- They are the largest among the four bustard species (Houbara bustard, Lesser florican, Bengal florican & Great Indian Bustard) found in India.
- They are primarily terrestrial birds. They spend most of their time on the ground with occasional flights to travel from one place to another.
- They are diurnal birds, usually active in the early morning and evening hours.
- It is the state bird of Rajasthan.
- They were formerly found across the Indian Subcontinent, but they are now locally extinct in 90% of its original range.
- In India, they are found scattered throughout the Indian states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka.
- They inhabit dry and semi-dry grasslands with dispersed bushes and patches of scrub.
- They are omnivores, feeding on insects, grass seeds, berries, rodents and reptiles.
- In cultivated areas, they feed on crops such as exposed groundnut, millets, & pods of legumes.
- They can easily be distinguished by their black crown on the forehead, contrasting with the pale neck and head.
- Males have larger crowns as compared to the females.
- Males and females are distinguished by the colour of their feathers.
- Slow reproductive rate: It lays one egg every 1-2 years, and the success rate of these eggs under ideal situations is around 60-70%.
- Collision with particularly high-voltage transmission lines.
- Habitat loss/degradation due to development activities like mining, industries, wind turbines, and associated infrastructure growth.
- Noise pollution interfering with the GIB’s mating call.
- Hunting and poaching.
- Project Great Indian Bustard announced by Rajasthan Government in 2018.
- Centres for breeding and hatching established in Jaisalmer and Kota.
- Constitution of the Bustard Task Force and the development of the National Guidelines for Recovery of Resident Bustards.
- Wildlife Institute of India (WII) launched the project “Habitat Improvement and Conservation Breeding of Great Indian Bustard: An Integrated Approach” in collaboration with MoEFCC, State Forest Departments and NGO partners.
- Objective: To build up captive population of Great Indian bustard and to release the chicks in the wild to increase the population.
- MOEFCC provides financial assistance to the States/ UTs under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme: Development of Wildlife Habitats for conservation of wildlife, including for Great Indian Bustard.