The Great Bustard: Past, Present and Future of a Globally Threatened Species

Alonso, J.C. 2014. The Great Bustard: Past, Present and Future of a Globally Threatened Species. Ornis Hungarica 22(2): 1–13.  DOI: 10.2478/orhu-2014-0014

Abstract & Full Text PDF (Open Access):

Great Bustards are still vulnerable to agricultural intensification, power line collision, and other human-induced landscape changes. Their world population is estimated to be between 44,000 and 57,000 individuals, showing a stable demographic trend at present in the Iberian peninsula, its main stronghold, but uncertain trends in Russia and China, and alarming declines in Iran and Morocco, where it will go extinct if urgent protection measures are not taken immediately. Our knowledge of the behaviour and ecology of this species has increased considerably over the last three decades, allowing us to control the major threats and secure its conservation in an appropriately managed cereal farmland. This species became ‘The Bird of the Year’ in Hungary in 2014.

Except from the article:

“Interestingly, numbers of Great Bustards in Iran and Morocco are at present similar to the minimum numbers reached two decades ago in Germany and Austria (in both countries, ca. 60 individuals in the 1990’s; http://www.grosstrappe.at, http://www.grosstrappe.de), which shows that extinction could theoretically be avoided in Iran and Morocco. Unfortunately however, socio-economic conditions in Iran and Morocco are not equal to those in the two central European countries, making the recovery of the species much more difficult. International efforts should be urgently devoted to try to save the Iranian and Moroccan bustards from extinction”.

Great Bustard - Grande Outarde (Otis tarda), northern Morocco

Great Bustard – Grande Outarde (Otis tarda), northern Morocco (photo: Rachid El Khamlichi / GREPOM facebook page).

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