Bustards captive breeding centre in Rajasthan mulled

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Jaipur, Feb 22 (IANS) The Wildlife Institute of India is considering to set up a captive breeding centre in Rajasthan for the Great Indian Bustard (GIB), locally known as ‘Godawan’ and is the state bird but seeing an alarming decline in numbers.

The proposal, which is being taken up on the initiative of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje aims at saving the bird of Rajasthan from extinction.

In June 2013, Project Great Indian Bustard was launched by then chief minister Ashok Gehlot to save the bird from extinction, but has so far failed in its objectives.

According to wildife experts by the end of 2015, only 13-15 birds were alive in the state, which is almost 30 down from 2014.

According to website of Rajasthan forest department, the rapid decline in population of the bird has already alarmed wildlife experts, ornithologists and bird lovers across the world. The main reasons cited for its decline are habitat loss due to conversion of grasslands to other purposes, anthropogenic and related biotic disturbances during its breeding season and frequent poaching of the species as game bird.

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How to save Great Indian Bustard and other issues concerning wildlife and expansion of green cover was discussed at a meeting of state board for wildlife held here on Monday. Raje, who chaired the meeting, focussed on developing green areas around the sanctuaries, protected areas and national parks.

“During the meeting, Raje asked officials to remove encroachments on the government lands in and around the forest areas and ensure sanitation and cleanliness,” said an official statement issued here.

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