Press Trust of India | Jodhpur Last Updated at March 19, 2019 10:35 IST
After antelopes, dogs have emerged as a major threat to the endangered Great Indian Bustard, inspite of conservation and breeding projects underway in the state to stop the bird, one of the heaviest flying birds, from being extinct.
According to wildlife enthusiasts, the bird is falling prey to stray dogs in desert areas of Jaisalmer, where the number of the canines has seen a spurt.
"These dogs have emerged as a major threat to conservation efforts. They kill the birds and even destroy their eggs," said Radheshyam Pemani, a wildlife enthusiast from Pokhran.
He said dogs routinely attack the birds in evening, when they come out to feed.
The weight of the bird which can be up to 15kg proves fatal for it when dogs attack. If the bird is alert, it takes a flight away from dogs but a delay weakens its chances of survival.
Until 1980s, up to 2000 Great Indian Bustards could be found in western India, reports say. But due to rampant poaching and dwindling grasslands, their population declined rapidly.
In 2011, the International Union for Conservation of Nature categorised the bird as "critically endangered".
A petition is being heard in the Rajasthan High Court for the safety and conservation of the endangered bustard, with a focus on identification and elimination of the threats to its life.