ibnlive » India

Jun 19, 2011 at 12:38pm IST

Great Indian Bustard more endangered than tiger

New Delhi: The population of the great Indian Bustard has reduced to less than 300, making the bird twice as endangered as the tiger. The rare bird has now been put on the Critically Endangered List by the World Conservation Union.

Alarm bells are ringing for the 'Son chidiya' or the great Indian Bustard. The grassland bird that was once found across the Indian subcontinent, is now on the brink of extinction. It's estimated that not even 300 of these birds are left in India, pushing the species to the critically endangered list.

What is alarming is that the bird is vanishing even from the sanctuaries meant for its protection. While the Desert National Park in Rajasthan has less than 100 birds, in Bustard Sanctuary in Maharasthra the bird's population has declined from 21 to just 9. And even worse, Karera Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, Sorsan in Rajasthan and Ranibennur Sanctuary in Karnataka have lost their entire population.

Scientists have blamed it on disturbances and loss of the grassland habitat. BNHS Director Asad Rahmani said, "It needs scientific management of grasslands and the government should start project Bustard now."

Just recently the National Board of wildlife gave approvals for denotification of Karera sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh and reduction of the Great Indian Bustard sanctuary in Maharashtra. It is now up to the government to decide if it wants to save this neglected species from extinction.