Great Indian Bustard (GIB)

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The Supreme Court of India recently requested the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change to consider launching ‘Project Great Indian Bustard (GIB)’ like one for tigers.

The Great Indian Bustard:

  • The Great Indian Bustard, found mainly in the Indian subcontinent, is the flagship grassland species of India.
  • It is one of the largest flying birds in the world, and India’s heaviest flying bird.
  • The male bird weighs upto 12-15 kg and female bird up to 5-8 kg.
  • Physical description:
    • Black crown on the forehead contrasting with the pale neck and head.
    • The body is brownish and the wings are marked with black, brown and grey.
    • Diet:
    • They feed on grass seeds, insects like grasshoppers and beetles, and sometimes even small rodents and reptiles. The species primarily feed on meswak, sewan grass.
  • Distribution:
    • Its population of about 150 in Rajasthan accounts for 95% of its total world population.
    • They are mainly in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan, including the Desert National Park which is the natural habitat of the species.
    • Grasslands of Kutch in Gujarat which is home to second-largest bustard population in India.
    • Arid regions of Maharashtra (Solapur), Karnataka (Bellary and Haveri) and Andhra Pradesh (Kurnool)
    • It is the State bird of Rajasthan.
  • Conservation status:
    • Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972,
    • Listed in Appendix I of CITES,
    • Listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. 
  • Project Tiger:
    • The ‘Project Tiger’, launched in 1973, is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of the Ministry of environment, forests and climate change.
    • It is providing funding support to 18 tiger range states for in-situ conservation of tigers in designated tiger reserves, and has put the endangered animal on an assured path of recovery by saving it from extinction.
    • It started five decades back with nine tiger reserves, now increased to 51 covering 2.23% of the country's geographical area.


Q1) What is the current population of Great Indian Bustard in India?

As per the IUCN report of 2021, population of the Indian bustard has been on the decline for the last several years. Currently, the population of the species is placed in the range of 50 to 249.

Source: Times of India