Rapid urbanisation and pollution have taken a heavy toll on sparrows, which are regarded as indicators of environmental health. Now, birdwatchers strain hard to sight them, and environment activists are propagating ways to protect them

It could be the last chance. Over the years, the house sparrow presence in the city has recorded a rapid decline, and even the best of optimists seem worried about their fate. Protect them, or else they could be lost, forever.

A rare sight

Rapid urbanisation and rising pollution have taken a heavy toll on sparrows, which were once found chirping almost everywhere. Now, keen birdwatchers strain hard to sight them, and environment activists are propagating ways to protect sparrows, often regarded as indicators of environmental health.

There might not be more than a few hundred sparrows in the city now, say bird lovers.

“A few hundreds at the most and definitely not more than that,” says Rajani Vakkalanka who along with other bird lovers set up the Citizens Action for Local Biodiversity Awareness and Conservation.

She had been involved in a sparrow conservation mission at Attapur, where on sighting a few birds, the group created nests and feeding facilities. Rajani and her associates have been engaged in awareness programmes on the issue, besides guiding others in taking up similar initiatives in their respective localities.

Nehru Zoological Park Curator A. Sankaran says house sparrow sightings are reported from very few locations, hardly about 15 to 20 places in the city.

“Authentic information about their presence came from places like Shamshabad and Somajiguda,” he points out.

Sparrow club

On the occasion of the World Sparrow Day on Wednesday, the zoo is planning to set up a ‘sparrow club’ to assist interested persons and groups in conserving the bird.

“We will provide them with necessary guidance and materials such as nests,” says P. Mallikarjuna Rao, Director of Zoological Parks. Prakrithi Mitra, the environmental education wing of the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, on Tuesday came up with posters on neighbourhood bird conservation including promotion of nest making.

Releasing the posters, Governor, E.S.L. Narasimhan promised steps to protect the birds even in Raj Bhavan.

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