JAIPUR: In a Facebook post, scientist Sutirtha Dutta of the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, expressed regret that a juvenile Great Indian Bustard had died in Gujarat after hitting a transmission line of a windfarm.
“Within months of tagging, two Great Indian Bustard in Kachchh, (Gujarat) a tagged juvenile female died after hitting a 33 kV transmission line connected to Suzlon Wind Turbines near Lala Bustard Sanctuary. Boy, did she move miles across a landscape intersected with hostile infrastructure. Shockingly, the wire that killed her has already killed another in 2014 and passes within metres of the Sanctuary boundary, probably without an environmental clearance! Wind energy not so ‘green’ after all. This is the eighth instance of detected bustard death due to power-lines within the last decade from a population of less than 200 birds. Power corporates can’t go scot-free for pushing a species towards extinction. Government should take immediate steps to underground power-lines in critical habitats and marking other wires in bustard habitats with bird diverters. We must fight to the day when joint decision-making becomes institutionalized in land-use planning for grasslands,” the scientist wrote on Facebook.
On Tuesday, Guardian reported of the findings of scientists that a sixth mass extinction of species is underway, as billions of populations of animals have been annihilated in recent decades. Quoting a study published in the peer-reviewed ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’, Guardian reported that human overpopulation and overconsumption were causing a massive loss of wildlife, a “biological annihilation” that represents a “frightening assault on the foundations of human civilization.” Mexican scholar Gerardo Ceballas, who led the study is quoted as saying, “The situation has become so bad that it would not be ethical not to use strong language.”
In India, conservationists worry that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concern for ‘ease of doing business’ sits at odds with concern for wildlife and nature. The pace of approvals for projects planned in ‘protected areas’ is worryingly fast. Writing for Scroll.in, conservationist Prerna Singh Bindra said the National Board for Wildlife, in just seven meetings since the NDA government assumed power in 2014, approved 301 projects – in five years of UPA rule, 260 projects were approved in 17 meetings.
(This article was originally published in The Times of India)