2 Great Indian Bustard chicks hatched artificially

2 Great Indian Bustard chicks hatched artificially

Great Indian Bustard (File Photo)

In what could prove to be a major breakthrough in the conservation of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard, two chicks have been hatched through artificial incubation at the Desert National Park here.

Six eggs had been collected for artificial hatching.

One chick was born on June 21 and the other was born on July 6. Both are healthy and being monitored very closely by a team of experts, officials said.

"This success would lay the foundation for captive breeding in India for this huge bird and set a precedent for others," said Sharavan Singh, a veterinarian associated with the project.

Experts from Abu Dhabi have been taking care of the chicks round the clock.

A wildlife expert associated with Great Indian Bustard conservation efforts, Sumit Dukia, said both the chicks are from the same family so there was no doubt about their survival.

"We look forward to the successful hatching of the remaining eggs. It would be a huge success in the direction of conservation of this endangered bird," he said.

The experts feel that given the persistently hostile conditions of their habitat, artificial incubation is the only way to protect and help increase the population of this bird.

According to the experts, high-tension electric cables have claimed the lives of six Great Indian Bustards in the past two years.

Dukia said the local community will have to be sensitised and educated so that it can become the first guardian of this bird which is on the verge of extinction.

The Rajasthan High Court is also hearing a petition for the safety and conservation of the bird, with a focus on identification and elimination of the threats it faces and a project for its conservation through breeding.