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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Sparrows find a new home in HP cold desert

Gaurav Bisht , Hindustan Times  Shimla, July 25, 2014
First Published: 13:52 IST(25/7/2014) | Last Updated: 13:53 IST(25/7/2014)

Even as the dwindling number of house sparrows has become a cause of concern, a team of researchers that visited Himachal Pradesh found that the bird has now found a new habitat in the cold deserts of Lahaul-
Spiti, Ladakh and the Tibetan plateau.

A team of the Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN), a branch of the Bombay Natural History Society, conducted a three-day bird survey at the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary to record the present bird diversity status. They were stunned to find sparrows at houses in Komik – the highest motorable village in the world, situated at 4,250 metre above the sea level.

“Surprisingly sparrows have explored their habitat and adapted to the high cold desert areas of Spiti,” ecologist ecologist TK Roy, a member of IBCN told the Hindustan Times.

“New home of the sparrows include high altitude villages including Komik, which is the highest motorable
village” he said, adding that night temperature at Komik dips below 5 degree Celsius in winter months, while day temperature hovers at about 15 degree Celsius.

“What is strange is that sparrows have comfortably adapted themselves to the cold climate. The population of sparrows is increasing as the Kibber Wildlife sanctuary is rich in diversity.

The Sanctuary is located in the higher cold desert area of Spiti. It is a rich habitat of alpine biodiversity ie endangered species like the snow leopard.

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