Birds are sensitive to environmental changes and act as an indicator of ecological balance of a particular habitat. Sushil Kumar the winner of the fifth season of Sony TV’s popular game show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) is again on toes making his efforts to safeguard nature. After planting thousands of plant of Plumeria (Champa), he’s determined to save the Indian sparrow locally known as “Gouraiyya” (Passer domesticus).
The fresh campaign headed by Sushil, which has surged in city of Motihari, is about protecting the house sparrow, whose numbers have come down drastically in the recent times. He launched his project on March 20 when the world was celebrating ‘World Sparrow Day’. Last year Sushil in a similar environment friendly step, had launched a drive called “Champa to Champaran” (extracting inspiration from a historical belief that Champaran derives its name from Champa, as this area used to be an aranya (forest) of champa trees).
Speaking to Newsd Sushil Kumar said- I am concerned about nature and its allied companions such as birds and that among them house sparrow is most sensitive so such a campaign was need of the hour.Homely sparrow, which not long ago made nests in virtually every household, is vanishing. Possible reason behind its declining population can be climate change, shrinking habitat, inadequate food availability and rapid urbanization.
Sushil, presently is rousing masses about bird’s significance and is helping them to set up a small wooden portable box inside their home making the environment favourable to sparrow.
Dr. Amresh Maharshi, a practicing doctor at Motihari Sadar hospital is a participant in conserving house sparrow. He cites a spiritual reason behind safeguarding the bird and besides this he considers sparrow as significant constituent of nature who indicates a healthy environment.
Concern on conservation
The House Sparrow is closely associated with human habitation and cultivation throughout the world from historic times. Despite this historical success, the species has been declining since the early 1980s in several part of the world, including India. It has been living symbiotically with humans for about 10,000 years. But in the past few decades, there has been such a huge decrease in its population in India’s urban areas that the sparrow has become a rare bird in Indian cities and small town.
The bird that is well known for its cheeping and chirruping all around our houses was on verge of alienation that in 2002, sparrows were included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species in the U.K. and since 2010, March 20 has been adopted as World Sparrow Day. In 2012, Delhi and in 2013 Bihar adopted the House sparrow as their State bird.
Importance of House Sparrows
Nationwide research on decreasing population of house sparrow is underway out of which one research at the Biodiversity & Wildlife Conservation Lab, Department of Zoology, University of Lucknow states that, “In many parts of India, presence of sparrow in house is a good omen. They are useful in eradicating insects. They feed their chicks with the larvae of the alfalfa weevil and cut-worms, both of which harm alfalfa crops. The humble house sparrows are nature’s bio-indicators and enjoy a historical relationship with humans for thousands of years. Sometimes sparrow also helps in seed dispersal.”
Reason behind Sparrow fallout
The felling of trees, absence of ventilators in houses, non-availability of worms for feeding chicks amidst concrete structures, radiation from mobile towers, glass panels on high buildings where bewildered sparrow strike and die, noise pollution, use of insecticides in houses and green swathes are some of the major reasons for the depleting population of sparrows.
Sparrow are in search of cavities and free ventilator gaps at home so that they can have safe stay but modernized structure and match-box style of houses disconnected the link between homes and the bird.
The House sparrow was declared Bihar’s state bird on April 16, 2013 by Bihar government with the underlying aim to conserve and protect them as it was on verge of extinction. But prior to this major efforts in form of awareness campaign were not witnessed. Efforts of citizens like Sushil Kumar in contemporary times is a reminder to the state government to re-think on methods of conservation for its state bird.