Great Indian Bustard's population increases in Gujarat

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Ahmedabad, Oct 10 (UNI) The wildlife week brings goods news for bird conservationists of Gujarat as the latest survey revealed that the population of the Great Indian Bustard (GIB), a highly endangered species, is increasing in Gujarat.

Forest sources said that the recent survey which was carried out jointly by the Gujarat Forest Department, GEER Foundation and Nature Lovers and Naturalists indicated the presence of 48 Great Indian Bustards in the grasslands of Kutch, in and around the GIB Sanctuary in Naliya.

In the October 2007 survey, experts feel that 48 birds is in fact an under estimate because the visibility of the bird is considerably low due to the thick and tall grass and plenty of locally available food material does not necessitate the bird's movement over larger areas.

The Survey, covering the south-west grassland region of Kutch district including areas surrounding Naliya, Mandvi, Lakhpat and Nakhatrana, shows a definite increase from the last census carried out in September 2005 when the count stood at 45, sources said.

There are four bustards in the country namely the Great Indian Bustard, Macqueen's Bustard, Lesser Florican and the Bengal Florican. Out of these, three bustards are found in Gujarat barring the Bengal Florican.

There had been serious concerns over the GIB, whose population is reportedly declining in the country and is now confined to a few grasslands mainly in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

GIB is a typical Grassland bird which feeds on insects and reptiles found in the grasslands. It is a very slow breeder as a pair usually lays only a single egg and on rare occasions two eggs, thus keeping its population low.

UNI

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