GREAT INDIAN BUSTARD SANCTUARY, KUTCH
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.
Extensive grasslands of Kutch, spreading across the horizon enlivened with avifaunal and mammalian life is an ideal place for any vacationer to get spellbound by the rustic exquisiteness of nature. The Kutch Bustard Sanctuary set amidst this natural haven stretches over an area of 2 square kilometers in the Abdusa Taluka near Nalia in Kutch. The woodlands covering the Jhakau and Budia villages extend to this magnificent sanctuary which is the sole home of Great Indian Bustard bird and various other life forms. The area was declared an indigenous home to Great Indian Bustard and a sanctuary in the year 1992.
Great Indian Bustard is a large ground dwelling bird with long neck and ostrich like elongated legs. This endangered species with its neutral coloured coat blends with the semi-arid grassland, and provides a visual surprise to the visitors. Lesser Florican Bustards breed here while the flamboyant Macqueen’s Bustard is a winter visitor of this region. The sanctuary is considered a unique dwelling for these birds which are almost becoming extinct in other regions of the country. Other rare species of animals and birds are fellow habitants who make this sanctuary a treat for nature connoisseurs. Chinkaras, jungle cats, Nilgai and many other mammals inhabit this area, along with the Indian wolf which proliferates in this untamed retreat.
The Great Indian bustard, locally called as ‘Ghorad’ lives in the open. The bird breeds during the rains and it is also the best time to visit the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is also home to several other species of birds including harriers, common cranes, black partridges, sand grouses, black and grey francolin and many others. One also gets to see wild animals like wolf, desert cat, blue bull, striped hyena, etc. Tourist can also spot flamingos, herons, egrets in the coastal areas of Jakhau during winters. If you are wildlife lover this place should be your part of wildlife tour of Gujarat or Birding Tour of Gujarat.
Important animals-Wolf, caracal, desert cat, jackal, hyena, fox, mongoose, bluebull, chinkara, spiny tailed lizard, royal snake etc.
Important birds -Great Indian Bustards, lesser floricans, houbara bustards, harriers, common cranes, black partridges, sand grouses etc.