Trees will be cut to save bustards

Published: Oct 01, 2009, 08:38 IST | Chandran Iyer

Forest dept will chop trees at Nanaj Sanctuary to provide grassland habitat to dwindling, endangered Great Indian Bustards

Forest dept will chop trees at Nanaj Sanctuary to provide grassland habitat to dwindling, endangered Great Indian Bustards 

The forest department, which has actively supported afforestation since 1975, will make an exception at the Nanaj Sanctuary in Solapur, and uproot trees to provide the endangered Great Indian Bustards their natural habitat of grassland and shrubs. It will uproot trees over 50 hectares of forest land and replace them with rolling grass which are ideal for the bustards.

"We are uprooting the trees from the forest area because these birds, which weigh nearly 14 kg, have strange ways of flying. They need to run a distance of a few metres before taking a flight and while swooping down, they need to run some distance before halting. The trees and other vegetation an harm them during their flight and landing," said Y L Rao, conservator of wildlife.

Exception
It is forbidden to uproot trees in the core area of a forest, but in January 2008, the department took Supreme Court permission, as it is the only way to conserve majestic birds. "Having realised that this strategy is counterproductive for the bustards, we have rectified it in our bustard management programme," added Rao.

Good step
Dr Arsad R Rahmani, Director of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) said that trees like neem and glaricidia create problems for bustards. "I am glad they have taken this step. In fact, I had recommended the same to the forest department some years ago."

The forest department has also planned to adpot artificial breeding of birds to increase their dwindling population.

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