Rajasthan forest department to hatch lesser florican eggs artificially

The Centre has given approval for incubation of six eggs of lesser floricans, a first of its kind initiative.
Lesser florican is one of the four bustard species of India, all of which are threatened under the International Union for the Conversation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.(Photo Credit: Gobind Sagar Bhardwaj)
Lesser florican is one of the four bustard species of India, all of which are threatened under the International Union for the Conversation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.(Photo Credit: Gobind Sagar Bhardwaj)
Published on Jul 22, 2019 02:13 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Jaipur | By

The Rajasthan forest department will hatch eggs of lesser florican (locally known as kharmor) birds artificially after doing it for Great India Bustards (GIB) successfully, officials said.

Lesser florican is one of the four bustard species of India, all of which are threatened under the International Union for the Conversation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

The Centre has given approval for incubation of six eggs of lesser floricans, a first of its kind initiative, officials said.

The forest department signed an agreement in 2018 with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the union ministry of environment, forest and climate change to set up India’s first captive breeding centre and a hatchery centre (egg collection and hatching) for GIBS in Jaisalmer district and for lesser floricans in Sorsan area of Baran district. The state forest department has been successful in hatching five chicks from 10 eggs of GIBS artificially in Jaisalmer.

Rajasthan forest minister Sukhram Vishnoi has informed the state assembly that the government has identified 676 hecatre of forestland for the breeding of GIBS and lesser floricans in Baran. The required land will be transferred soon to the forest department, he said.

“The government of India has given permission to collect six eggs of lesser floricans; a sum of 10 lakh has been received to set up the breeding centre at Sorsan,” a senior forest department official said on anonymity.

He said lesser floricans are found in Chittorgarh, Pratapgarh, Nasirabad and Sorsan in Rajasthan. “The state government is also considering declaring parts of Sorsan area as conservation land as per the wildlife protection Act,” he added.

The official said the protocol to hatch and breed lesser floricans would be same that has been adopted for GIBS.

WII scientist YV Jhalla said the hatching of lesser floricans was part of the agreement inked for the GIB captive breeding in 2018. On the objective of initiating artificial hatching of lesser floricans, he said, “We do not want to reach the stage of GIBS and intend to start early to protect the lesser florican species. The population of lesser floricans in India is around 1000. The species’ population is threatened by habitat loss and power lines. It is mainly found in western and central India,” he said.

The lesser florican (Sypheotides Indicus) is is endemic to the Indian subcontinent where it is found in tall grasslands.

Lesser floricans are a bird watcher’s delight and during their mating season, which starts with the onset of the monsoon, the male acquires spectacular breeding plumage and jumps as high as two metres in the air emitting a frog-like rattle, which can be heard from 300-400 meters away, to attract the female.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sachin Saini is Principal Correspondent with HT Rajasthan edition. He covers politics, tourism, forest, home, panchayati raj and rural development, and development journalism.

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