New Delhi, July 28
The critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (GIB) is nearing extinction due to collision with high-voltage power lines that criss-cross their flying path, according to a report by the Ministry of Environment.
The report, which has been prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India, a statutory body under the ministry, said only 150 GIBs were left, with the maximum number in Jaisalmer. They are dying at the rate of 15 per cent annually due to collision with power lines. The GIB population has been reduced by 75 per cent in the last 30 years, said the WII report which has compiled various studies conducted by researchers across the country. “ All bustards are prone to collision due to their poor frontal vision and inability to see the power lines from a distance,” it said.
WII’s research has shown that power lines, particularly high voltage transmission lines with vertical alignment are the biggest threat to GIB as of now.
“The study recorded 5 GIB deaths in 2017-18 in Jaisalmer alone and calculated that 15 per cent of the GIB population may be dying because of this threat. Since the natural death rate of large bustards is 4-8 per cent, the current additive mortality rate due to transmission lines is significantly higher and if not controlled, can result in the species extinction,” the report, submitted by the ministry to the NGT on the plea of secretary, Centre for Wildlife and Environmental Litigation, said. — PTI
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