Act Now! Or Say Goodbye to the Great Indian Bustard - Courtesy of Conservation India
May 2013. With less than 200 left, will this magnificent bird be the first mega species to go extinct in India since the cheetah or can it be pulled back from the brink of extinction, like the California condor in America?
We are not crying wolf. A survey of recent literature - and discussions with experts - reveals that there may be less than 200 Great Indian Bustards (Ardeotis nigriceps) left in India. What's worse, this tiny number is fragmented into small populations across several Indian states, making the bird even more prone to extinction. While it is welcome news that the Government of India is working on a species recovery plan, and that the state of Rajasthan has already prepared one, will the wheels of bureaucracy turn fast enough to stop the decline? Probably not - unless we raise the issue collectively.
Disappeared from over 90% of its former range
The Critically Endangered bird has already disappeared from over 90% of its former range. If urgent and targeted conservation actions are not taken immediately at specific sites where the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) still exists, the bird will almost become extinct in the near future.
The GIB is endemic to the Indian subcontinent, and, with an uncertain future in Pakistan, India is the main (many think only) hope for the survival of the species.
In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court has directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests to take urgent steps for the recovery of the GIB among other endangered species. The time to act is now!