IMPHAL, March 20 - Sparrows, particularly the Tree Sparrows in Manipur, often considered to be a key bio-indicator of the environment and one of the oldest companions of human beings, has been on the decline due to gradual decrease in its habitats in recent times, experts said.
Most city dwellers here miss the chirping of sparrows outside their windows in the morning these days, RK Birjit, Coordinator of Indian Bird Conservation Network Manipur said. The decline of the sparrow may affect the environment around human habitations as the bird plays a key role in controlling pests/insects around us.
�Some of the sparrows might have vanished from the region due to developmental activities including construction of new housing pattern and designs,� said environmentalist Dr Kh Shamungou.
�We are yet to identify the real problems of this bird as there is lack of research and studies.� Now, most of the houses in urban Manipur which earlier had thatched roofs � the habitats of sparrows, have been converted into concrete jungles.
Speaking to The Assam Tribune on the occasion of World Sparrow Day (WSD) on Sunday, Dr Shamungou observed that the region has comparatively a good number of sparrows than other parts of the country because of its forest cover and favourable climatic condition.
Mohammed Dilawar, Founder of Nashik-based Nature Forever Society (NFS), an organisation committed towards protecting nature, promoting research, education and advocacy, said over phone, �Comparatively we have little information on sparrows in North East.�
However, the NFS founder informed that the presence of tree sparrow is much higher, than that of the house sparrow, the State bird of Delhi since 2012, in North Eastern States. House sparrow was listed as of �least concern� in the Red list of International Union for Conservation of Nature.
There are about 24 kinds of sparrows across the globe, of which five � House sparrow, Sind sparrow, Spanish sparrow, Russet sparrow and Tree sparrow � are found in India, he added.
To honour the unsung environment heroes who work at grassroots level for strengthening the conservation movement for better protection of the environment and biodiversity, NFS has been giving Sparrow Awards to people from diverse fields and backgrounds on World Sparrow Day since the last five years.
This year�s Sparrow Awards winner include Meghalaya-based Rida Gatphoh-led The Musical Folks band, Pune-based Roseland Residency Society and Kerala�s �Forest man� Abdul Kareem.