Conservation Efforts Increase House Sparrow Population To Over 70,000 In Odisha

Berhampur: The conservation efforts of animal and bird lovers in Odisha’s Ganjam district have led to a major jump in population of house sparrows to more than 70,000 in 17 years.


The Rushikulya Sea Turtle Protection Committee (RSTPC), a non-government organisation engaged in protection of the Olive Ridleys, turned its attention to the house sparrows, known as “Ghara Chatia” in the state, after it came to know about rapid decline in their population.

The committee started its mission by providing protection to 7 house sparrows at Purunabandha in the district in 2007.

The RSTPC claimed to have spread its network to 18 districts and thus helped preserving more than 70,000 birds of the sparrow species during the last 17 years.

On their preservation methods, 52-year-old Rabindranath Sahu, secretary of RSTPC said they procured specially designed earthen pots and wooden boxes and placed those near the roof of some houses where the birds can build their nests. Feeder box and eco-friendly container for drinking water were also provided.

Sahu, who has dedicated his life for the conservation of animals and birds, is supported by 56 volunteers in this endeavour. He has spent more than Rs 3 lakh from his pocket for the conservation of house sparrows with financial support from the state or the Union government eluding them.

“Initially there was mixed response from the public to our efforts. But now there is an overwhelming support from the people,” said Sahu.

“We want to spread the message to protect sparrows and our main intention is to involve the school children in it. We have involved more than 50 schools in Ganjam in this mission,” he added.

Citing the reasons for dwindling population of house sparrows in the state, Sahu said encroachment of green space, use of insecticides and pesticides in different crops, increase in pollution levels and radiation from cell phone towers were responsible for it.

“The sparrow’s main diet consists of grain, especially waste grain and livestock feed. They also eat weeds and insects, especially during the breeding season. But their reproductive capacity is affected due to consumption of chemicals used in the crop fields,” he said.

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