Bustards on the brink
The Great Indian Bustard, which one could spot easily in Haveri district’s Ranebennur forest two decades ago, has now all but disappeared from the State. This has given conservationists and bird lovers much cause for concern. According to ornithologists, their numbers have dipped even in Madhya Pradesh’s Karera, Rajasthan’s Desert National Park and Maharashtra’s Great Indian Bustard Bird Sanctuary. The bird is one of the biggest flying bird species, but owing to poaching and loss of habitat, their numbers have plummeted over the years.
In the pipeline
There is a silver lining, though. The Ranebennur sanctuary is making efforts to conserve the bird. Ground work is underway to earmark 30 acres of land to bring these birds together. There are plans to install fencing to save the birds from predators. “We are planning to construct four watch towers and hire personnel to ensure the birds are saved,” said Assistant Conservator of Forests Gopal Singh.
He added that the wire fencing would be installed in such a manner that the birds won’t be affected. There are also plans to conserve black bucks which the region is famous for. (Bustards and black bucks usually share the same habitat.) The idea is to ensure that the sanctuary matches up to international standards, he added. According to studies conducted by wildlife conservation groups, there are only 300 Indian bustards left. The Forest Department is in talks with both the State and Central governments to ensure that the species is saved.