Three Great Indian Bustards were spotted in Pakistan’s Cholistan desert.
- The recent sighting of Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) in the Cholistan desert led to the speculation that these species have migrated from Desert National Park (DNP) in Rajasthan, India.
- The three GIBs were spotted in the Cholistan game reserve in the southern part of Punjab province.
- The migration may have taken place because of the shrinking habitat in DNB.
- GIBs are critically endangered in Pakistan because of the absence of protective measures and rampant hunting by poachers.
- They are also critically endangered in India despite being protected under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
- Rajasthan, having around 150 GIBs, accounts for 95 per cent of the total global population.
- The population in the Thar Desert is rapidly dwindling because of the laying of power lines, industrial activities, and agricultural practices.
- In 2019, the Desert National Park has initiated the captive breeding of GIBs via a project implemented by the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India.
- Currently, 24 GIB chicks are being reared as part of this programme.
- The International Fund for Houbara Conservation of United Arab Emirates is providing technical aid for this initiative.
- In 2020, the GIB was included in the list of protected species of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals during its 13th conference held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
- Pakistan is a signatory of this convention.
About Cholistan Desert
The Cholistan Desert is situated in the southern part of Pakistan’s Punjab. It forms part of the Greater Thar Desert, which spans from Sindh province to the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is one of the two major deserts in Punjab, with the other being the Thal desert. The entire region is experiencing desertification because the poor vegetation cover is causing wind erosion.