May 28, 2020

The Great Indian Bustard Project

The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) is a stunning emblem of India’s vanishing grasslands. Today, it is one of the most critically endangered bird species in the world. The only population of GIBs in India that has the potential to be recovered is found in the Thar Desert in western Rajasthan.

With less than 150 individual birds remaining, RIST and WCS-India have launched a project to support the Rajasthan Forest Department towards recovery of the Great Indian Bustards in the Thar Desert in January 2020.

Left to right: Rohit Baldodia, Ecologist, WCS-India; Anil Kumar, Project Associate, Great Indian Bustard project, WCS-India; Prakriti Srivastava, Country Director, WCS-India; watchers from Loharki and Khetolai; Kamlesh, Forest Guard Pokhran, Rajasthan Forest Department and N. K. Vasu, Project Lead, Great Indian Bustard project, WCS-India.

One of the primary interventions of this conservation strategy is to secure the critical GIB habitats in the landscape through mobilizing support of the various stakeholders as well as creating community leaders in the villages who will steer the conservation of GIBs and their habitats. WCS-India is partnering with members of the local communities, local NGOs, Rajasthan Forest Department, and other government agencies including Animal Husbandry, Agriculture and Rural Development departments in this project to establish a community-led conservation model with the goal of saving Great Indian Bustards from the brink of extinction.

Another main focus of this project is to address the threats arising from high-tension powerlines running across some of the critical GIB habitats in the landscape. We are actively supporting the Government of Rajasthan and facilitating the installation of bird diverters along the most vulnerable stretches of the powerlines near PFFR. Similarly, we have tied up with the Rajasthan Forest Department and are providing them support to strengthen protection and monitoring of the enclosures present inside DNP and near PFFR.

Pictured above: High-tension power lines running across some of the critical GIB habitats pose a serious threat to the species