Are critically endangered Great Indian Bustards now migrating to Pakistan?

Source: The post is based on the article “Are critically endangered Great Indian Bustards now migrating to Pakistan?” published in The Hindu on 22nd October 2022.

What is the News?

The recent sighting of three Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) deep in Pakistan’s Cholistan desert has given rise to speculation that the GIB might have flown across the international border from India’s Desert National Park(DNP). 

What are Great Indian Bustards(GIBs)?

The Great Indian Bustard(GIB) is the State bird of Rajasthan.

Its population is about 150 in Rajasthan which accounts for 95% of its total world population. 

The captive breeding of GIBs was taken up in the Desert National Park(DNP) through a project executed by the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India in 2019.

Threats faced by GIBs: The GIBs in the Thar desert have been facing threats to their survival because of intensive agricultural practices, laying of power lines and industrialisation.

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Why have GIBs flown to Pakistan?

Environmental activists suggest the GIBs may have migrated due to their shrinking habitat in Desert National Park.

What can be done to protect Great Indian Bustards(GIB)?

India and Pakistan can collaborate on the conservation of GIBs by developing a protocol through diplomatic channels. Pakistan could be given a demonstrative example of India’s ex-situ breeding project for GIBs in the Desert National Park(DNP).

Note: GIB was added to the world list of protected species of the ‘Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals’ during its 13th conference in Gandhinagar in 2020. Pakistan is a signatory to the Conference of the Parties(COP) of the convention.

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