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Pokhran’s ‘firefly bird diverters’ shine to save the Great Indian Bustard

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Pokhran’s ‘firefly bird diverters’ shine to save the Great Indian Bustard:


The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) along with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) India has come up with a unique initiative — a “firefly bird diverter” for overhead power lines in areas where Great Indian Bustard (GIB) populations are found in the wild.

Need for:

  • Power lines, especially high-voltage transmission lines with multiple overhead wires, are the most important current threat for GIBs in the Thar region, and are causing unsustainably high mortality in about 15% of their population.
  • The Supreme Court of India, in a recent hearing, had also directed that power lines in GIB landscapes should be placed underground.

What are firefly bird diverters?

The diverters are called fireflies because they look like fireflies from a distance, shining on power lines in the night.

This model has been endorsed by experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) Bustard Specialist Group.

  • The firefly detectors have been installed in the Pokhran tehsil in Rajasthan.


Great Indian Bustards (GIB):

IUCN status: critically endangered.

Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972 and in the CMS Convention and in Appendix I of CITES.

Identified as one of the species for the recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Project Great Indian Bustard — state of Rajasthan — identifying and fencing off bustard breeding grounds in existing protected areas as well as provide secure breeding enclosures in areas outside protected areas.

Protected areas: Desert National Park Sanctuary — Rajasthan, Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary – Andhra Pradesh and Karera Wildlife Sanctuary– Madhya Pradesh.

Habitats in India:

Only two districts in Rajasthan — Jaisalmer and Barmer — have a breeding GIB population in the wild. The bird can also be found in very small numbers in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.


Prelims Link:

  1. About GIB.
  2. IUCN Status
  3. Protected areas.
  4. Habitats.

Sources: the Hindu.