The significant rise in the sightings of the endangered Lesser Florican in the sanctuaries of Madhya Pradesh this year is only a battle half-won, say ornithologists.
The real test was to ensure the eggs of the bird, colloquially called kharmor, remained undisturbed for the next 20 days so that they can hatch.
Compared to last year, there has been a significant increase in the number of sightings of Lesser Floricans across the state. At least 24 birds were sighted at Sailana in Ratlam district, against the 14 birds spotted here last year.
In Jhabua’s Petlawad, their number has increased from five to nine, while in Sardarpur the first Kharmor was sighted in three years.
Ornithologist Ajay Gadikar, who has been closely studying the avian species for the last five years, said, “The real test is to ensure that the eggs hatch and mature...The next one month is a crucial period.” It takes 20 to 22 days for the eggs of the bird to hatch.
“Unlike other birds, whose babies are helpless during the first few weeks after birth, the Lesser Florican chicks are independent forthwith. They start flying within a month,” said the expert.
Buoyed by the increase in the number of sightings of the bird, the forest department is also trying to do their bid to protect the endangered species.
Chief conservator of forest (Ujjain), PC Dubey, said: “The main enemy of Kharmor eggs and fledglings are dogs from nearby villages. The nilgais and cattle that graze on the grassland where the eggs are laid, besides other predator birds, also pose a threat to the avian species.”
“We have deployed a large number of forest guards to drive away cattle, neelgai and dogs from the grasslands. They have been armed with sling-shots and air guns to scare away predator birds,” he said.