State wildlife and forest department will establish two rescue and research centres for house sparrows, scientifically known as Passer domesticus, to understand the reasons behind their declining population in Haryana.
One of the centres will come at Jodhpur village near Pinjore, situated in the foothills of Shivalik hills, which already houses an internationally-famous vulture breeding and conservation centre, Jatayu.
Another centre will come up at Bhondsi village in Sohna tehsil of Gurgaon district, which is near Aravali hills.
Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), an organisation working in the field of conservation of threatened bird species, will assist the state government in this rescue and research project.
Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), Panchkula, R L Rajwanshi said the motive behind establishing the two centres is to understand the reasons behind the declining population of this species, which was earlier commonly spotted in urban and rural habitats in this region. “Indeed, it is not completely vanished, but declining. Keeping in view the biodiversity of these two places, Pinjore in the foothills of Shivalik hills and Bhondsi near Aravali hills have been selected for establishing the centres. We will start working on both the centres from next summer. In Pinjore, the centre will be developed within the Jatayu Breeding and Conservation Centre,” said Rajwanshi.
The state government has sanctioned a budget of Rs 53 lakh for this project.
A source said earlier there was a plan to construct breeding centres, but that did not materialise. Then the authorities gave nod for the rescue and research centres.
Vibhu Parkash, a senior scientist with BNHS, who is monitoring the vulture breeding and conservation centre near Pinjore, said they have decided to put 50 pairs of house sparrows each in both the centres. “The pairs will be collected from different parts of Haryana. As per my knowledge, attempts were also made earlier to understand the reasons behind the mortality of this species, but nothing concrete came to light. So called reasons like abundance of mobile towers, kutcha houses replaced by concrete houses and heavy use of pesticides are not concrete. Similarly, installation of wooden nests in houses is not the only way to attract this species. As per studies, first five days of house sparrows’ broods are considered to be very crucial. These broods only eat insects provided by the sparrows,” he said.
Though house sparrow is listed among the least-concerned species by International Union for Conservation of Nature, its declining population has been acknowledged globally.
Birder Matinder Singh Sekhon said least-concerned species does not mean their population is not decreasing. It depends on the region. Till now, you will observe house sparrows in abundance in states like Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. But in Punjab and Haryana, this species is a concern,” he said.
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