Karera bird sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh was established in 1981 to help save the Great Indian bustard. Things were hunky-dory in the initial stages. At the time of declaration there were 15 birds. The population grew to 40 over the years. Then mysteriously the dip started. Not a single Great Indian bustard has been sighted since 1994.
Now Madhya Pradesh Government is under pressure from the local populace to declassify the park and it has acquired vociferous proportions. The villagers surrounding the sanctuary are totally against the park authorities. They complain that they are not allowed to buy, sell or make any significant changes to the land.
Experts say Mechanised farming and over-grazing by cattle coupled with encroachment has spelt doom for the sanctuary.
Great Indian bustard requires undisturbed nesting areas. If the egg or offspring do not survive, bustards desert that particular area. On the other hand if the offspring survives, they will return to the same place.
Shri Alok Kumar IFS, chief conservator of forests recently told BBC "The bird has disappeared over a period of time. Something could have been done earlier. It is impossible to hold any one person responsible,"
This is a classic case of failure of conservation when the needs of the local people are not taken in to consideration while devising conservation strategies. The local community has to be involved in conservation if conservation is to success in a thickly populated county like India.