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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

No sparrow in sight on World Sparrow Day

Vishav Bharti , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, March 19, 2014
First Published: 16:15 IST(19/3/2014) | Last Updated: 16:19 IST(19/3/2014)

Chandigarh: As the world prepares itself to celebrate World Sparrow Day on Thursday, one fourth of the city residents have not seen even a single sparrow in the past 10 years, a study conducted by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, and Panjab University has found.

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The reasons behind the vanishing of sparrows found by various studies include loss of habitat, increase in predator populations, exceptional mortality events connected to weather, impact of vehicle emissions on ecological systems and electromagnetic pollution by mobile towers.

The study conducted on around 1,200 people in various sectors of the city found that 25% of the locals haven’t seen a sparrow even once in the past decade. Around 8% of them have not seen a sparrow in the past five to 10 years. And around 20% have not sighted a sparrow in the past one to five years. Surprisingly, 5% of the respondents could not recognise a sparrow as they had never seen one.

The study found that only 24% of the city residents sighted a sparrow every day. “This mixed picture reveals that in some areas of Chandigarh sparrows thrive, but we still have gaps in our knowledge from areas where no records are received.”

“Around 70% people were of the opinion that the density of sparrows 10 years ago was definitely more than what it is now,” Dr Ravneet Walia, assistant professor, department of zoology, Panjab University, who conducted the study, said.

The day aims to spread awareness about the house sparrow and other common birds. In 2010, the PGI formed Sparrow Club, an informal association of likeminded people dedicated to the cause of sparrows or the urban bird biodiversity.

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