24 May 2023

Lesser Florican: Work To Save This Rare Bird Ongoing In Ajmer, Rajasthan But Threats Are Too Many

AJMER: Last month Rajasthan Government declared the Lesser Florican Conservation Reserve in Ajmer district of Rajasthan on 931 hectare grassland in Ajmer district. The bird is only found in India and as per the estimation only less than 700 mature individual birds are left in India and it is on the verge of extinction.

Except for a few reserve forests, there are no Protected Areas in the Ajmer landscape for the conservation of floricans. This will be the first designated area with protection planning for Lesser Floricans in Rajasthan and may lay a path to designate more such community conservation reserves.

With only a few hundred birds of this species left in the world saving this bird from going the way of Dodo is an uphill task especially because no concerted and coordinated efforts are being in this direction.

Bombay Natural History Society or BNHS, a premier NGO working for research and conservation of bird species had welcomes the decision to declareLesser Florican Conservation Reserve in Ajmer

Kisan Chaupals to sensitize farmers 

BNHS has been running community sensitization program called Kisan Chaupal (a meeting of farmers) to enable the discussions on the conservation of Lesser Florican jointly by the Forest Department, State Biodiversity Board of Rajasthan and raise awareness among villgers and farmers about this rare bird. 

Lesser Florican mainly breeds in the North-west part of India in monsoon and spends winter in the Deccan plateau. Therefore, the participation of locals is essential for the survival of the species which requires mosaics of the grasslands and crop fields. 

Lesser Florican, also known as the likh or kharmore,  is the smallest bird of the bustard family which was formerly a common game bird of Indian grasslands. The Ajmer landscape of Rajasthan is one of the last remaining breeding grounds where it is surviving in a human-dominated landscape.

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) started working with the Rajasthan Forest Department on its conservation project in 2017. “Our teams identified 26 sites (73 locations) spread across 50 villages in the Ajmer district where the bird is still found..

Cultivation of cash crops, use of heavy farm machines threaten floricans 

Change from traditional crops like Jowar, Moong, and Urad growing up to a height of 50–100 cm to irrigated cash crops and the use of heavy machines and music systems on tractors seem to be affecting the birds in this landscape, BNHS scientist Dr. Sujit Narwade mentioned. Land use changes, chemical spray, uncontrolled tourism, and unavailability of grasslands was recorded as threats to be addressed immediately.


The forest department has started habitat restoration work. in Ajmer Sightings of male Lesser Florican increased in the adjoining areas in last 3 years. In March 2021, the Forest department also fenced part of this area to minimise the grazing pressure in this already degraded grassland under the supervision of BNHS.

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