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Gujarat: Injured Houbara bustard that may have migrated from Kazakhstan dies

Kazakhstan is one of the most important areas for the future of the Asian Houbara as it is home to 80 per cent of the wild breeding population.

By: Express News Service | Gandhinagar |
Updated: January 21, 2021 4:00:33 pm
The bird died during treatment in Dhrangadhra Wednesday.

A Houbara bustard with a metal ring tag on its leg, believed to have migrated from Kazakhstan, was rescued in an injured state by a wildlife enthusiast on the fringe of Little Rann of Kutch in Patan district Tuesday and handed over to forest officials of Wild Ass Sanctuary in Dhrangadhra of Surendranagar district. The bird, however, died during treatment in Dhrangadhra Wednesday.

P S Thakker, a bird watcher, said, “The bird was found on the fringe of LRK by a farmer, Bharat Jadeja, of Par village of Santalpur tehsil of Patan district. Jadeja informed a local bird lover, Kanubhai Rajgor, from Santalpur. Rajgor rushed the bird to Dhrangadhra wildlife range office for treatment and for its release in the wild after treatment.”

Thakker said one of the legs of the bird was tagged with a metal ring that was inscribed with “M20K-IFHC.SKHB.KZ”. The tag also had telephone numbers inscribed on it. “IFHC indicates International Fund for Houbara Conservation and SKHBC.KZ indicates Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre Kazakhstan,” Thakker said.

Kazakhstan is one of the most important areas for the future of the Asian Houbara as it is home to 80 per cent of the wild breeding population. “Abu Dhabi has collaborated with Kazakhstan since 1994, conducting common field studies. This long-standing collaboration resulted in the establishment of the Sheikh Khalifa Houbara Breeding Centre-Kazakhstan in Shyann, near Shymkent, in the south of Kazakhstan. The bird may have avoided the mountain massifs of Hindukush, Pamir, Tianshan and Himalayas during migration,” he said.

The bird can fly 220 km/day and travel more than 75,000 km in a year. Its population is estimated to be between 50,000 and 1 lakh in the world.

According to Thakker, Houbara bustard is a vulnerable species and there is a decline in its global population. Pakistan has been a favourite destination for Houbara bustard hunters where authorities issue permits for hunting the bird in Sindh province every year.

Assistant Conservator of Forest at Wild Ass Sanctuary, Pragnesh Dave, said, “The bird’s left wing was injured. It could have been trapped in some wire or fencing accidentally which could have caused the injury. It was under treatment but due to the trauma it was not eating anything and died today during treatment.”

“Post mortem revealed fatal traumatic injury as a cause of death. We have also sent its samples to laboratory to ascertain the possibility of bird flu,” Dave added.

The forest officials have also contacted Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) to formally ascertain the bird’s origin on the basis of its ringed leg.

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