Assessing the possibilities of restoring the habitat and population of the Great Indian Bustard in the Sokaliya area of Ajmer district
The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) is highly endangered and is endemic to the grasslands of Western India. The bird lives closely knit with this ecosystem, and due to an extremely strong association with its habitat, is considered as the keystone species of the rich grasslands. Nearly 50% of the surviving 500 birds inhabit Rajasthan. Increasing grazing pressures and degradation of the grasslands in the region are serving to jeopardize the long-term survival of this species and could lead to its complete disappearance or local extinction.
A project on 'Assessing the possibilities of restoring the habitat and population of the Great Indian Bustard in the Sokaliya area of Ajmer District' is being implemented in the Nasirabad taluka of Ajmer district. Through this project, efforts are being made to gauge the present status of the bird's population and its habitat, assess the existing threats to its survival, and seek means of involving stakeholders in conservation action.
As part of the project, we have assessed the habitat and status of the Great Indian Bustard in the community grasslands of Sokaliya village (covering an approximate 15-20 sq km). The area presently hosts around 10 birds, but has a higher potential for their breeding and nesting. Along with designing appropriate conservation action plans, the restoring and managing of the grasslands or grazing lands by promoting community institutions is seen as an effective step towards enhancing fodder availability and quality in these areas, which in turn would create habitats for the Great Indian Bustard.
Rufford Small Grants Foundation