‘Critically Endangered’ Great Indian Bustard Being Hunted by Poachers in Pakistan
While the world is trying to protect threatened wildlife species, the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard is being hunted by poachers in Pakistan. In a shocking incident, few hunters in Pakistan shot two Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) and later got themselves photographed while holding the dead birds in the hands along with guns on their shoulders.
The group of hunters was allegedly led by Syed Tanveer Hussain Shah, a retired major in Pakistan Army. They had shot down these birds in the protected area of the Cholistan Desert in the Southern part of Punjab, Pakistan. They also allegedly attacked wildlife officials who tried to stop them from hunting these birds.
This incident has outraged wildlife activists in Pakistan and India. ‘Save the Wild’, a Pakistani environmentalist group has sought the intervention of Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa in this matter. They have alleged that Shah had made illegal hunting a source of his income.
Honorary Secretary, Tourism and Wildlife Society of India Harsh Vardhan said,
It cannot take place without the cover provided by the government authorities in Pakistan. This incident should be probed thoroughly and the poachers punished. As Rajasthan shares the international border with Pakistan’s Sindh and Punjab provinces, it is suspected that Indian-bred GIBs will fly across to Pakistan’s desert and will be easy prey for the gun-toting poachers there.
Recently, the Supreme Court of India has set up a high-level committee to protect GIB from extinction. The Court has ordered the officials to install bird diverters.
In 2019, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) had informed that during the last 30 years, the population of GIB has reduced by 75 percent. WII said that the birds were dying at the rate of 15 percent annually as a result of a collision with high voltage power lines. At present, the population of the bird is less than 100, out of which 95 percent is in Rajasthan.
GIBs were categorized as endangered species in the year 1994 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Due to poaching and loss of habitat, these birds continue to face the threat of extinction, therefore, were classified as “critically endangered in 2011 by IUCN.
Via: The Hindu