BBMP forest cell bags Sparrow Award

BBMP forest cell bags Sparrow Award

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Forest Cell and its volunteers will be honoured with Wipro - Nature Forever Society Sparrow Awards on the occasion of World Sparrow Day on Friday.

The cell has been chosen for its network of people and conservation activities. It has over 7,000 volunteers across the City, including autorickshaw drivers, grass cutters, sweepers, security guards and IT professionals.

“It is not the cell or the officials, but the volunteers and their work which are being awarded,” said Mohammed Dilawar, founder-president of Nature Forever Society (NFS), popularly known as Sparrow Man of India.

NFS instituted the Sparrow Award in 2011. It is given every year to individuals or a group for their contribution to environment. So far, four awards have been conferred, of which three were bagged by Bengalureans. The BBMP forest cell is the fourth.

The award comprises Rs 50,000 worth of equipment and a citation.
Wipro has been associated with the sparrow conservation efforts since three years.
The award will be received by Sharat Babu, former deputy mayor Harish, and Rajarajeshwari zone volunteer Shivaraj.

Babu, BBMP Forest Cell member, said the team was chosen for its overall performance and volunteer group. “NFS has been observing our activities since 2009. But what they appreciated the most was the work towards placing a proposal before the Central government to ban the manufacture and usage of Chinese maanja (kite thread). The proposal was sent to the Ministry of Environment and Forests through the Karnataka Chief Wildlife Warden two years ago,” he said.

Though the sparrow population is dwindling across the country, including in Bengaluru, the number of volunteers and members striving to revive it is increasing. NFS has over 10,000 registered members and around 3,000 of them are from Bengaluru. This is apart from the BBMP Forest Cell volunteers.

“People are working in their own small way to revive the population of sparrows by feeding them or keeping artificial nests to provide them conducive habitats,” Dilawar said.

Reviving population
There is no scientific study like on elephants and tigers to ascertain the number of sparrows. But overall observation of experts points out that there has been a decline in the number of these birds because of urbanisation.
“One simple way to revive them is by planting more native tree species. There should be proper tree canopies, which act as green corridors. They provide safety and roosting spaces,” said bird watcher M B Krishna.

He said there were places where sparrows still survive. This is because of the presence of conducive habitats and food availability.

A detailed map of their location was prepared by Gubbi Labs, which include Yeshwantpur, KR Market, international airport, Jakkur and Kanakapura.

“Sparrows at BIAL (Bangalore International Airport Limited) are a unique example. I have studied the area in detail and found that the building structure provides roosting spaces (like crevices between angled pillars). There is an abundance of human food, which sparrows like. They also get insects from the open, virgin grassland in the vicinity. If such provisions are provided elsewhere, the bird’s population can increase,” Dilawar said.
The theme of this year’s World Sparrow Day is: I Love Sparrows.

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