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Biodiversity & Environment

Firefly for Great Indian Bustard

  • 24 Dec 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

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.

  • The Wildlife Conservation Society is a non-governmental organization headquartered in New York, that aims to conserve the world's largest wild places in 14 priority regions.

Key Points

  • About:
    • Firefly bird diverters are flaps installed on power lines. They work as reflectors for bird species like the GIB. Birds can spot them from a distance of about 50 meters and change their path of flight to avoid collision with power lines.
      • Smaller birds can change their direction but for larger bird species, it is difficult because of their body weight and other factors.
      • Since great Indian bustards are heavy birds with limited frontal vision, they find it difficult to change their course of flight swiftly even if they spot a live wire.
    • The diverters are called fireflies because they look like fireflies from a distance, shining on power lines in the night.
  • Background:
    • According to a report by the MoEFCC, 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.
    • The Supreme Court of India, in a recent hearing, directed that power lines in GIB landscapes should be placed underground.

Great Indian Bustard (GIB)

  • About:
    • It is one of the heaviest flying birds in the world.
    • Scientific Name: Ardeotis nigriceps
  • Habitat:
    • Bustards generally favour flat open landscapes with minimal visual obstruction and disturbance, therefore adapt well in grasslands.
    • Its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small populations occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Protection Status:
  • Threats:
    • Collision/electrocution with power transmission lines,
    • Hunting (still prevalent in Pakistan),
    • Irrigation and farming technology
    • Mining
    • Wind turbines and Solar farms (photovoltaic power stations)
    • Plantation of exotic shrub/tree species in deserts and grasslands in the name of afforestation

Source: TH

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