Kutch Bustard Sanctuary
Kutch Bustard Sanctuary or Kachchh Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, also known as Lala–Parjan Sanctuary, is located near Jakhau village in Nalia Taluka, Kutch District, Gujarat, India.
This sanctuary is one of the two great Indian bustard sanctuaries in Gujarat; the other one is in Jamnagar. It was declared as a sanctuary in July 1992, specifically for the conservation of the great Indian bustard, the heaviest flying bird belonging to the avian family of Otididae. However, the sanctuary presently legally covers a protected area of about 2 square kilometres (0.77 sq mi) of area (202.86 hectares (501.3 acres) of fenced land only and is the smallest sanctuary in the country. Several suggestions have been made to vastly increase the size of this sanctuary as it is a breeding ground of the endangered great Indian bustard. The reason is that its ecological zone is much larger on account of anthropogenic and cattle population pressure that are considered as a ‘biotic threat’ to this omnivorous species.
The main bird species of the sanctuary, the great Indian bustard, locally called “Ghorad,” is a Schedule I bird under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. It is included in the Red Data list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). According to the studies conducted by the Bombay Natural History Society on three Indian bustard species – namely the great Indian bustard, the lesser florican and the Bengal florican – the estimated total population of the great Indian bustard in all 12 sanctuaries in the country is said to be only about 1,000, out of which only about 30 birds had last been counted within the sanctuary, second only to the Desert National Park in Rajasthan which reportedly had about 70–75 birds.