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Amid Great Indian Bustard’s cry for life, Court intervention needs strict implementation

ANM Desk

The Great Indian Bustard was listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List since 2011. However, it seems the bird’s cry for help has led to  Supreme Court of India recognizing the urgent need to mitigate the threat posed to the existence of by Great Indian Bustard (GIB). The bird has been struggling to survive with its number sharp dwindling due to various causes including the high voltage overhead power lines.

GIB  has been on the top of the list for ensuring survival and needs urgent environmental intervention due to its alarmingly dwindling population.

Why is Great Indian Bustard under threat

The Great Indian Bustard (GIB) is the state bird of Rajasthan. It was commonly found in Gujarat as arid land suits the survival of the bird. The bird once roamed freely in the vast and arid landscapes of these states. Now, it faces a survival crisis due to overhead electric wires. These wires pose a critical threat to its survival.. These cables, unseen but lethal, have become a significant threat to the existence of this iconic species, leading to fatal collisions and electrocutions that have decimated its already dwindling numbers.

Considered among the reasons impacting the survival of the bird are developmental issues, habitat loss, and hunting. The bird has extirpated in 90% of its former range. Additionally, experts estimated its population at perhaps fewer than 250 individuals in 2008.

This species is known for its impressive size and distinctive appearance. It once thrived across the vast grasslands and semi-arid regions of the Indian subcontinent. However, reckless habitat destruction, hunting, and more recently, the proliferation of overhead power lines, have pushed this magnificent species to the brink of extinction. With its population dwindling to perilously low numbers, urgent action is needed to save the GIB from disappearing forever.

For years, environmentalists and conservationists have been tirelessly advocating for the protection of the Great Indian Bustard. Their efforts have included raising awareness about the species’ plight, conducting research to better understand its ecology and behaviour, and lobbying governments and policymakers to implement measures aimed at its conservation. One of the primary challenges they have faced is the widespread installation of overhead power lines, which have proven to be a major threat to the GIB’s survival.

Overhead power lines pose a grave danger to the Great Indian Bustard, as the birds often collide with the cables while flying or become electrocuted upon landing on them. The GIB’s large size and poor frontal vision make it particularly vulnerable to these hazards, leading to significant mortality rates among populations residing in areas where power lines crisscross their habitat. Urgently, we need to take action to mitigate this threat and give the GIB a fighting chance at survival.

Supreme Court intervention 
Supreme Court of India’s intervention addressing the peril faced by the GIB signifies a turning point in the fight for its survival.

In response to a plea filed by former IAS officer M K Ranjitsinh, the Supreme Court issued a groundbreaking judgment. The judgment aims to protect the Great Indian Bustard from the dangers posed by overhead power lines. The court has constituted an expert committee for this purpose. Wildlife experts have identified priority areas for the evaluation of the feasibility of underground electric lines. This evaluation task has been assigned to the committee. This decision represents a crucial step forward. It aims to balance the need for sustainable development. Additionally, it addresses the imperative of preserving endangered species like the GIB.

While the Supreme Court’s judgement holds immense promise for the conservation of the Great Indian Bustard, its effective implementation may face several challenges. These challenges encompass logistical hurdles associated with replacing existing overhead power lines with underground cables. Achieving this task necessitates cooperation and coordination among various stakeholders. Additionally, ensuring adequate funding and resources for conservation efforts is crucial. Additionally, striking the right balance between conservation priorities and developmental needs will require careful consideration and planning.

The Supreme Court’s intervention to protect the Great Indian Bustard from overhead power lines marks a significant milestone in the battle to save this iconic species. By prioritizing GIB conservation while addressing sustainable development challenges, the court offers hope for its revival.

The new judgment offers hope for reviving the Great Indian Bustard. It does so by promoting collaborative efforts that balance conservation with sustainable development. The judgment presents an opportunity for stakeholders to unite. They can work not only to protect the GIB but also to preserve its delicate ecosystems.

We find ourselves at a critical juncture in the fight to save the Great Indian Bustard. It’s crucial to heed its cries for survival. Taking decisive environmental action and implementing measures to protect this majestic bird are imperative. This ensures that future generations inherit a world where the Great Indian Bustard soars high. It reflects our commitment to environmental stewardship and biodiversity conservation.

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