Skip to content

Conservationist in Pakistan rediscover the endangered Great Indian Bustard

September 19, 2013

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Conservationist conducted  a survey in the vast expanse of Cholistan desert along the Indo-Pak border have rediscovered the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) in Pakistan, one of the world’s rarest bird once thought extinct in the country raises the hope of joint collaborative effort to save this endangered bird and bolster peace between the two nuclear armed neighbors .

This is a significant find of global importance for conservation and international relations, to save this species is one of conservation’s most daunting task edge as only a few hundreds are left near the edge of extinction. Great Indian Bustard are one of the world’s heaviest and largest flying bird found only in India and Pakistan, unfortunately they are one of the world’s rarest bird too.

Cholistan desert, site of rediscovery

Cholistan desert, site of rediscovery

Great Indian Bustard was evaluated as a critically endangered bird (meaning it is highly vulnerable to extinction) by IUCN in 2011, when it was estimated that only 250 mature individuals remain mainly in India and a handful in Pakistan. This majestic bird is threatened by multitude of threats like habitat loss, hunting and direct disturbance.

Great Indian Bustard has been assessed by conservationist to become functionally extinct within few decades if conservation action is not taken by relevant authorities in India and Pakistan to protect them. Indian state of Rajasthan (which is the stronghold for this iconic bird) recently announced it’s very own $2 million “Project Great Indian Bustard” to save the bustard from extinction , but would this project be successful when birds which don’t recognize international borders are bluntly hunted in Pakistan. A research study from 2001-2004 found that out of the total 63 birds that entered Pakistan’s Cholistan desert, 49 were killed and sold in the market .


Proposed solution to save this iconic birds from extinction according to me are the following:
1- Establishment of Protected Areas Network/ Peace Parks along India and Pakistan border,
2- A collaborative initiative, working group and task force must be created to assist conservation effort between India and Pakistan,
3- Scientific expertise, technology and techniques must be shared to promote a concerted international effort directed towards Great Indian Bustard conservation.

Inaction, political interference and lack of co-operation between India and Pakistan to save this bird would not only cost us the future of this critically endangered bird but a hope for peace and conflict resolution between contested neighbors will too be lost forever. We need peace and progress to prevail between India and Pakistan and the conservation of Great Indian Bustard would help us accomplish that beautiful vision.

written by


Salman khan

Salman aka “GreenGuru” is a passionate eco blogger, activist and writer on  environmental sustainability, biodiversity, and climate change related topics. He is a millennial polymath, entrepreneur & visionary that has founded “GreenGuru” – a sustainable media company  – “Wild Planet”  –  as social media for wildlife enthusiasts – and “Natureology” –  a new age naturalistic spiritualism.

Follow me now and contacts that are listed below:

10 Comments leave one →
  1. A.K.VARMA permalink
    September 22, 2013 6:46 pm



    • September 22, 2013 7:48 pm

      Oh I really appreciate that an ex Indian forest official has promised to give support, but the thing is I’m a student and I need all the support there is to launch my project. So can can u forward me the list of Indian govt officials or environmentalist, who can help launch my idea of Great Indian Bustard and even Tiger conservation project.


  2. Ernest Shams permalink
    September 24, 2013 5:07 pm

    Dear Salman Khan,
    Your article is interesting, but I cannot agree with your leaning on an anonymous research study to claim killing 49 Great Indian Bustard out of 63 in Pakistan between 2001-2004 and being sold in the market. Who verifies the figures? And which market? Nothing could be far from the truth.
    Our organization is working on conservation of this critically endangered species. Its occurrence is a trickle in its habitat on the fringes of the Cholistan Desert and the Thar Desert along the Indo-Pakistan boundary which is the most guarded area by para-military border troops.
    Further, your dream of achieving peace and progress through joint efforts for conservation of the Great Indian Bustard is also fanciful. Much else needs to be done by governments and policy-makers at the highest levels of the nuclear armed states of Pakistan and India.
    Ernest Shams
    Houbara Foundation International Pakistan


    • September 24, 2013 5:25 pm

      Well I appreciate your thorough analysis of my article, but achieving peace and international co-operation on a more progressive conservation effort is what is urgently needed. Sure peace is not what the establishments of both India and Pakistan want but not achieving it to the detriment of the future generations of both countries and more pressing challenges seems to be unaddressed by artificial conflict at the borders.

      Well the research can be doubted, Pakistanis are not very good at gathering or representing data with the full scientific knowledge that is required but without doubt GIB is hunted by the elite (I have pictures of stuffed GIB kept by a prominent landlord of Bahawalpur) even possibly by the Arab hunters and arm personnels. I would be interested to know what research has Houbara International done to proof that their support of unsustainable Houbara bustard hunting by the Arabs won’t lead to to that threatened birds extinction, which is already in decline globally. Do wait for my next article that provides an ingenious solution to menace of bustard hunting and Arabs lust for bustard meat!

      Salman Khan


  3. Ernest Shams permalink
    September 26, 2013 2:22 pm

    Mr Salman Khan,
    You have cast aspersions on research carried out by Pakistani scientists. Hmmmm! After they go through years of learning, a “polymath” that you claim to be ticks them off with impunity. Unbecoming indeed!
    As for conservation of the Houbara Bustard, please be informed that more than 10,000 houbara have already been bred in captivity and released to the wild. This offsets the threat to this species. And I hope it also allays your fears. Moreover, there is as yet no scientific evidence to declare reduction or increase or stability in the houbara populations globally, and there has been no survey to suggest the decline.
    Lastly, without access to the right quarters of governments and policy-makers, you have unjustly and incorrectly stated that peace is not what India and Pakistan want. I pity you for harbouring such views.
    Before you launch your next article please brush up your information.
    At the end, I strongly hope that with increasing age, you will use more positive and fewer negative words.
    Ernest Shams
    Houbara Foundation International Pakistan


    • September 26, 2013 9:48 pm

      Pakistani research and researchers are worth nothing and this is fact that can well-researched, if we analysis the number of credible research papers published in reputable peer-reviewed journals; Pakistan are nowhere to be seen. As far the Houbara bustards are considered, it is true that no international research has been published pointing out to the decline of these birds at the hands of Arab falconries but my hypothesis is that the bustards must be declining and my is further highlighted by the Birdlife International’s data. As I clearly know your just a retired army officer who has little or no knowledge of conservation biology, I doubt the survival rate of the thousands of birds released is a successful one. Its a shame how the army, politicians and bureaucracy of Pakistan is busy looting the resources that must be saved for the future generation. Mr.Ernest I would recommend you to leave conservation to the people who are most competent for the job and it will be really helpful if you contribute more of your service serving the persecuted Christian community of Pakistan instead of advocating for an organisation that hunts and smuggles endangered wildlife in this day and age, I must ask were did you come across any of my negativity in the entire debate we are having?


  4. Ashwin Baindur permalink
    January 13, 2014 6:58 pm

    Hi Salman, you can improve your article by giving the name of the conservationists who discovered the GIB in Cholistan & giving a link to wherever he has published this report. In itself, I am unable to use your article information to update Wikipedia. Best wishes & hoping you take my improvement suggestion in right spirit!


    • January 13, 2014 7:45 pm

      Hi Mr.Ashwin, I haven’t mentioned the people because of reason I have messaged you on Facebook but if you want to post this article on Wikipedia I can mention the name of the photographer behind the discovery but I haven’t come across nor the NGOs have released any report of their discovery in the media, otherwise I would have definitely added that. Thank you for your kind words and kind words I would work on the things you have asked for.



  1. First MacQueen’s Bustard Nests in the UAE for many Decades | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: