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List of Fauna

1. Gorad

Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps)
Status – Critically Endangered

The grasslands are home to a number of endangered bird species like the Great Indian Bustard (GIB). It was once a common site in Indian grasslands and a key indicator of grassland health. It was a contender for the national bird of India. Today, it is facing an existential threat in Gujarat. Windmills and power lines have mushroomed in Kachchh in the past two decades. Great Indian Bustards die due to collisions with transmission lines. Habitat loss and changes in the land-use pattern have pushed this species to the brink of extinction.

Lala-Prajau in Abdasa block near Kachchh Bustard Sanctuary is conducive for in-situ conservation. Local communities, with the help of Sahjeevan, devised strategies to protect the habitat of this unique bird. Ecological hotspots and areas are identified for long-term monitoring and a few naturalists from the community are creating awareness to reduce farmland encroachment in the grasslands.

2. Gidh

White Rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis)
Status – Critically Endangered

  • BMCs/Landscape: Kharadiya and Dhinodhar (Nakhatrana)
    Vultures are efficient scavengers that play a crucial role in our ecosystems as decomposers in nature’s system of nutrient and energy cycling. Unfortunately, these scavengers are in deep trouble due to a man-made chemical called ‘diclofenac sodium’ being rampantly used by livestock keepers to treat wounds, pain, or inflammation. When the vultures feed on the dead carcass of livestock, the bird dies within 72 hours of exposure to this chemical. It is toxic and impacts their kidney resulting in death. This coupled with the loss of large trees that are so essential for their roosting and nesting needs and has led to a decline in the vulture population. India has lost almost 99% of its vulture population.

Along with the communities, we re-established the dumping sites that ensured proper channels and carcass disposal. The pastoralists of Kharadiya and Dhinodhar participated in identifying and restoring three traditional dumping sites and co-operated in the management of the dead cattle by proper disposal and treatment of ailing livestock with Meloxicam instead of diclofenac sodium. The pastoralists joined hands with Sahjeevan in this initiative and the developments are regularly monitored by local youth and members of BMCs.

3. Kabari Ram Chakli

White Naped Tit (Parus nuchalis)
Status – Vulnerable

The White Naped Tit is spread across the western and southern parts of the country. White Naped Tit is a secondary cavity nester and has become globally vulnerable due to loss of habitat and lack of nest-hole availability. The species is now patchily distributed in Kachchh, probably due to the fragmentation of thorn forests by human interference.

After a preliminary assessment of bird behaviour and floral and tree diversity in the region, the community identified areas of protection. The birds feed on insects and the berries of Salvadora oleiodes. They may also obtain nectar from the flowers of Capparis decidua and are also recorded visiting rainwater puddles to drink water. The breeding season in Kachchh is during the monsoons, from May to August. The nest is a pad of ber and hair placed inside a cavity typically on a tree. They choose cavities made by Wood Peckers and Copper Smith Barbets. Nests have been found in old trees of Acacia senegal, Acacia nilotica and Salvadora persica.

Sixty artificial nests were established during the nesting period (August- September) resulting in three new localities of this species in the area. Soft measures were also taken through education and awareness among the communities. Lopping in the area was reduced by 80% after awareness activities.

4. Maskati Latoro

Grey Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus)

Grey Hypocolius is a small passerine bird that ranges through the Middle East, breeding in the Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Turkmenistan areas, and wintering mostly near the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf coast of Arabia. It is a winter visitor bird seen in Kachchh. Though they may eat some insects, fruits and berries, in Kachchh, the birds depend on the fruits of Salvadora spp.

The BMC of the Nakhatrana and Abdasa area persuaded farmers and pastoralists of the region to reduce the lopping and cutting of Salvadora spp. in the area and improved the habitat with their participation. Natural hedge conservation and habitat improvement works were undertaken with communities and the forest department.

5. Sandho

Spiny Tailed Lizard (Saara hardwickii)
Status – Schedule II

Spiny Tailed Lizard is seen in arid areas and recorded in large numbers in isolated patches in the dry lands of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat (dominant in the Kachchh landscape) and Pakistan. They are primarily herbivores, but occasionally feed on insects and hibernate in winter. They are threatened by illegal poaching and loss of habitat due to developmental activities, encroachment in grassland, habitat conversion, etc.

Micro and macro habitat data and distribution of the species were recorded and incorporated into the habitat management plan at Devisar, Haripar and Sayra (Nakhtrana), Sudadhrao Moti, Prajau and Lathedi (Abdasa). Habitat conservation was implemented through the farmers’ group and prevention of illegal trading (initiatives on legal regulations and creation of an informers network are ongoing with BMCs). Several informal discussions were also initiated with poachers/hunters to conserve this species.

6. Lokadi

Indian Fox (Vulpes bengalensis)

Indian Fox is found in dry deciduous, open forests, grassland, ravines and scrublands. In 2001, the Forest Department estimated 180 foxes in Wild Ass Sanctuary, 100-125 in Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary, and 80-90 in and around the Lala Indian Bustard Sanctuary. In the past two decades, the picture has changed and it is mostly due to shrinking habitats resulting in prey shortage. Though Indian foxes are opportunistic feeders and feed on fruits, berries, insects, spiny-tailed lizards and even small mammals, the two decades of economic development have taken a toll on their distribution and sightings in the region.

Surveys and field observations in Lala and Prajau (Abdasa), Guneri, Dhareshi and Nani Virani (Lakhpat), Fulay-Chhari Dhandh (Nakhtrana) BMC areas indicated the ecological hotspots but vanishing species in the region. Communities joined hands with Sahjeevan to develop habitat, remove invasive species, manage identified corridors for wildlife movement and create awareness of the role of the species in maintaining the health of the grassland. The BMCs also developed a detailed plan for governing natural resources such as controlling grazing pressure and lopping of trees in the micro-habitats.