Endangered female Great Indian Bustard choked to death

Critically endangered female Great Indian Bustard choked to death in Kutch

Photo courtesy Forest Department

A female Great Indian Bustard or GIB, a critically endangered avian species, choked to death in Kutch district reportedly after a lizard stuck in its throat. Forest officers said that with this death, the number of GIB in Kutch may have reduced to barely four or five in the district. In the last census held in 2014, 25 birds had been counted.

Forest officials said that the bird died near Bhanada, about 15 km from GIB sanctuary in Naliya, Kutch district. Anita Karn, chief conservation of forests, Kutch circle, told DH, "Death of a GIB occurred on Tuesday afternoon. On preliminary examination, it was found a garden lizard was stuck in the bird's trachea that choked it to death. No injury marks or fracture has been found on the body." 
 
According to forest officers, it was one of the two birds, both females, tagged in 2017 to monitor their movements for conservation purpose. The other bird had died in the same year after it collided with a power line. Officers said that in 2014, 25 birds had been counted out of which they could trace only six in later years. With deaths of these two birds, it is estimated that only four are left right now. "We don't exactly know but we believe that there are only four to five birds surviving now. They all are females," said an officer.
 
These birds are critically endangered species. Reports suggest that there are barely 150 birds existing today. Rajasthan and Kutch are among the last few places where these avian species are found. The reason behind depleting numbers are said to be power lines, windmills, solar parks and loss of grassland.