'Want Pak to work on conserving Great Indian Bustard'

Want Pak to work on conserving Great Indian Bustard: Supriyo

Union Minister Babul Supriyo. (PTI Photo)

India wants Pakistan to give high priority to the conservation of the Great Indian Bustard after its inclusion in appendix one of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, said Union Minister of State for Environment Babul Supriyo on Saturday.

There are just 150 of these birds left and the aim of India to get it in the appendix one was to ensure Pakistan, which is also party to the UN-backed effort, also gives their conservation the same importance as our country, the minister and officials informed.

Apart from GIB, the Asian elephant and Bengal Florican were also included in appendix one of the CMSCOP 13 here on Saturday.

"The Great Indian Bustard (GIB) is facing sever threat of extinction. We are greatly worried about its killing and poaching that is taking place on the other side of the border in Pakistan. Now when GIB has been included in appendix one of the CMS, it is the duty of all parties to this treaty, even mandatory, to do their bit for conservation," Supriyo told reporters here.

"We (India) as the leader of the CMS now will work to ensure that all countries, including Pakistan, do their bit to save the Great Indian Bustard," the minister, speaking on the final day of the CMSCOP 13 event here, said.

India will be the chair of CMS for the next three years.

Inspector General of Forests of India, Soumitra Dasgupta, said the main aim to get the GIB listed in appendix one was to stop its poaching in neighbouring country Pakistan, especially when they are on the brink of disaster.

"India can go to any extent to save the GIB whose estimated number has gone down to 150 now. Firstly we have initiated a project to save them in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat. There are scientific reports that the bird crosses the border and goes across to Pakistan," Dasgupta told reporters here.

"Our main purpose of getting GIB listed in appendix one of the CMS was to provide it the same kind of conservation in Pakistan that we are giving it in India, so that their numbers increase," Dasgupta added.

Sources said no Pakistani representative was present at the CMSCOP 13 event despite the country being a signatory.

The GIB is a large bird with a horizontal body and long bare legs, giving it an ostrich-like appearance, and is among the heaviest of the flying birds.

Once common on dry plains of the Indian subcontinent, as few as 150 individuals were estimated to survive in 2018, hunting and loss of habitat playing prime roles in the fall in numbers.

As an environmental treaty of the United Nations, CMS provides a global platform for conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats.

The CMS brings together the states through which migratory animals pass and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range.