These huge birds that look like Ostriches, were commonly found in Pakistan and India. In 2008, there were about 1000 birds found. In the past people used to hunt this bird for its meat. In some parts of the country like Rajasthan, due to the construction of Indira Gandhi canal and increased practice of agriculture, the habitat of the GIBs were altered. Due to extensive pressure, the birds moved to Pakistan.
This species’s population has declined from an estimated 1,260 individuals in 1969 (Dharmakumarsinhji 1971 in Dutta et al. 2010) to c.300 individuals in 2008 (Dutta et al. 2010). A calculation of the rate of decline over three generations (47 years) using these data, and assuming an exponential trend, suggests that the species has declined at a rate equivalent to c.82% over 47 years. This indicates that the species may be eligible for Critically Endangered under the A criterion.
This actually became true and now the GIBs are critically endangered.
If the population had less than 250 male mature species, the birds would get a CR status. In 2010, GIBs were endangered and one year they have moved to being critically endangered. Most of the original grassland in the western States of India is reduce in size by forty percent in last fifty years, according to a study.
Threats to the bird now are habitat loss; modification and fragmentation as a result of widespread agricultural development and land-use change including the un-controlled livestock grazing have created tremendous pressure on the existing grassland.
That apart one needs to educate the local villagers about the importance of grasslands. There needs to be educational campaigns and slide shows which educates people on what needs to be done and what can be done for grassland management. With the current red status from IUCN, we hope that some activities and research is undertaken to save these birds. In another one year, we do not want them to be extinct, do we?