Save the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) from Extinction!

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Powerlines in GIB habitat should go underground. 

The critically endangered Great Indian Bustard has disappeared from over 90% of its former range due to habitat loss, hunting, disturbance and lack of protection in many ‘lekking’ and nesting sites (see 2013 CI campaign). Now, overhead power transmission lines that crisscross its habitat are sounding the death knell of this low-flying, ground-dwelling species (see attached map). According to a study by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), as many as … Read More

Great Indian Bustard — The Way of the Dodo?

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On the afternoon of 15th September, a farmer in the Karamba village in Solapur, Maharashtra was grazing his cattle when he noticed a large, severely injured bird on the ground, its wings singed. Hovering by, helping death to strike were a few feral dogs. As he edged closer, he saw a black mobile like device on the prone creature. He knew the bird, a frequent visitor to his fields from the adjacent Nanaj sanctuary, and immediately informed the forest department. … Read More

First Photographic Record of Long-eared Owl in India

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On 11th March 2012, while looking for the threatened Great Indian Bustards in Naliya grasslands in Kutch, Ramki Sreenivasan and I came across an owl which flew from one low tree to another. The owl was well camouflaged in dense foliage of an Acacia nilotica tree, but permitted a close approach.

The owl was brownish with streaks on its breast and belly. It had extremely long ear tufts, buff brown facial disk, black band down the face between the eye … Read More

Flamingo City in Peril

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An edited form of this article appeared in the February 16, 2015 issue of the Outlook magazine.

The unique natural heritage of the Great Rann of Kutch that Amitabh Bachchan promotes in the slick Gujarat Tourism commercials, is imperiled, ironically by a proposed road said to promote tourism.

Among the 130-odd projects that the new National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) cleared in its controversial first meeting in August last year, is a road that cuts through the Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary … Read More

The Vulnerable White-naped Tit, Rajasthan

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With little importance given to thorn-scrub forests, birds such as the globally threatened White-naped Tit (Parus nuchalis) are getting pushed towards extinction.

The vulnerable White-naped Tit is a 12cm bird endemic to India. It has two separate populations. One is found in the thorn forests of Gujarat and Rajasthan and the other in the states of Karnataka, Kerala & Tamil Nadu. Recent surveys have found the species to be scarce across its range, and absent from many intervening areas between … Read More

Electrocuted Great Indian Bustard, Kutch

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On 12th September 2014, an adult female Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) collided with high-tension electric powerlines near Kutch Bustard Sanctuary (KBS) in the Abdasa taluka of Kutch district, Gujarat. The bird was found dead just below the powerlines and had electrocution marks. The incident happened a few hundred meters from the boundary of KBS. There are three heavy powerlines passing by the Lala-Jakhau main road, two lines on one side and one on the other. The bird … Read More

Rusty-spotted Cat in Kutch-Gujarat, India

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On the evening of 12th February 2013, I was birding in a rocky area near the Chhari-Dhand bird conservation area in the famed Banni grasslands of Kutch. After seeing an eyeshine near a small bush, I spotted a small cat was sitting on a rock. I took some images of the wild cat. The cat was quite small (compared to the jungle cats common in the area) with a long tail and a white belly.

Experts later identified the cat … Read More

Domestic Dogs chasing Indian Wild Ass, Little Rann of Kutch

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The Indian Wild Ass or Khur (Equus hemionus khur), is an endangered animal with its last refuge in India’s only wild ass sanctuary. The Khur was formerly widespread in the arid zone of northwestern India and Pakistan, westwards through much of central Asia. However, it is now limited to the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, India. The khur probably went extinct in Baluchistan and the extreme south of Pakistan, on the Indian border, during the 1960s (Corbet … Read More

Flamingo City Campaign Update — NBWL Clears Road Project

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Campaign Update July 2013

The road proposal whose ecological damages CI highlighted in this campaign was unanimously and strongly rejected by all members of the MOEF constituted Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) on June 6th, 2013. The project was rejected on grounds that it was having a serious impact on the wildlife of the fragile Kutch region particularly the nesting site of flamingoes.

Lesser Floricans and Windmills

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A few decades back, there was hardly any village in the state of Gujarat which didn’t fall in the distribution range of the Lesser Florican (Sypheotides indica). As the local name ‘Khadmor’ (Khad = Grass, Mor = Peacock) indicates, the Lesser Florican resembles the Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus), and lives in grassland habitats. This bird is a keystone species of healthy grasslands. The bird’s wide spread distribution of the past has changed significantly now.

Its popularity … Read More

400 Flamingos Electrocuted in Kutch, Gujarat in 10-days

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At least 400 Greater Flamingos have died due to electrocution by high tension cables near their breeding grounds in Gujarat. The flamingos breed in the warm marshes of the Khadir region in Kutch. The chief conservator of forests has admitted to atleast 130 deaths, but locals and ornithologists have recorded much higher number of deaths. Deaths are said to be taking place at nights, when the birds would fly into the near invisible wires after being disturbed by passing vehicles … Read More

Gujarat Seeks 3,000 Hectare Land for Bustard Conservation

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The Gujarat forest department wants about 3,000 hectares of revenue land near the Bustard Sanctuary in Naliya taluk of Kutch district to be converted into forest land to save the crtitically endangered Great Indian Bustard.

“We have written to the revenue department to convert the revenue land adjoining the Bustard Sanctuary (in Naliya taluk of Kutch) to forest land which could be used for conservation of the Great Indian Bustard. We are yet to get any reply from revenue department … Read More