The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) is a stunning emblem of India’s vanishing grasslands. Today, it is one of the most critically endangered bird species in the world. Hunting, habitat degradation and infrastructure development pose some of the most immediate threats to the species’ survival.
With less than 150 individual birds remaining, WCS-India launched a project towards recovery of the Great Indian Bustards in the Thar Desert landscape of Rajasthan in October 2019. The project is focused on critical habitats and breeding populations of the species — the Desert National Park and the Pokhran Range.
One of the primary interventions of this conservation strategy is to secure critical GIB habitats in the landscape through mobilizing support from various stakeholders, as well as creating community leaders in villages who will steer the conservation of GIBs and their habitats. WCS-India is partnering with members of the local communities, local NGOs, Rajasthan Forest Department, and other government agencies including Animal Husbandry, Agriculture and Rural Development departments in this project to establish a community-led conservation model with the goal of saving Great Indian Bustards from the brink of extinction.
Another main focus of this project is to address the threats arising from high-tension power lines running across some of the critical GIB habitats in the landscape. We are actively supporting the Government of Rajasthan and facilitating the installation of bird diverters along the most vulnerable stretches of the power lines near Pokhran Field Firing Range (PFFR). Similarly, we have tied up with the Rajasthan Forest Department and are providing them support to strengthen protection and monitoring of the enclosures present inside DNP and near PFFR.