Patna: The population of Garuda, an endangered species of the stork family, has risen to nearly 500 in Bihar following conservation measures, forest officials said here.
"It is a matter of pride for us that the population of Garuda has been increasing regularly the last few years," said B.A. Khan, principal chief conservator of forests in the state.
Around the world there are only 1,200-1,300 Garuda birds, which are migratory in nature, he said. In Indian mythology, Garuda is considered the 'vahan' of Lord Vishnu.
"Nearly six months ago, a rescue and rehabilitation centre was opened in Bhagalpur district to protect and conserve the Garuda, particularly the injured ones," Khan said.
Nearly eight years after these birds started nesting and breeding in Bhagalpur, their number has increased several fold, from 78 to nearly 500, another official said.
"Garudas were spotted nesting and breeding not only in Bhagalpur but also in (neighbouring) Khagaria district," the official said.