As a follow-up to Project Bustard of the Rajasthan government, I (along with Prerna Bindra) visited Desert National Park on the kind invite of Gobind Sagar Bhardwaj, the Chief Conservator of Forests, Jodhpur division, who is leading the bustard recovery project. The challenges the forest department face in this landscape are many, but we believe there is a fighting chance to save these magnificent birds.
Last year, Conservation India had run a campaign to urge the Rajasthan govt. to initiate a focused ‘Project Bustard’. Almost immediately, Rajasthan, the largest stronghold of the Great Indian Bustard, became the first state to announce a plan to recover its critically endangered state bird bird. The state announced a Rs. 12 crore ‘Project Great Indian Bustard’. CI applauded the government of Rajasthan for its momentous decision, and expressed hope that other GIB range states would follow its lead. CI thanked the over 1000 readers who wrote to the Chief Minister of Rajasthan expressing their concern.
Birdlife of the the semi-arid and desert landscape is fascinating. The highlight of our trip was, obviously, a flock of nine bustards we encountered. From a distance, we quietly observed them and their group dynamics. They covered ground quickly busy feeding on insects and in a short period of time moved on to a neighbouring patch. It was an amazing experience with the critically endangered birds!