In a first, Delhi builds ‘Goraiya Gram’ for conservation of sparrows

The AAP government has created a first-of-its-kind “Goraiya Gram” in Garhi Mandu city forest in east Delhi for the protection and conservation of state bird sparrow, Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Friday.

Pollution and excessive use of pesticides is leading to a decline in the number of sparrows. Considering this, the forest and wildlife department is trying to provide ecological support for the protection and conservation of the little bird, the minister said.

“We have tried to give them nesting places and food sources in the ‘Goraiya Gram’. We do not only want to increase the green cover in Delhi but create a healthy ecological system and give a suitable environment to birds and animals,” he said.

More such sparrow villages are planned at several other places in the capital, he said.

Sohail Madan, assistant director, Bombay Natural History Society, said, “The spunky bird thrives in places that have plenty of grains and insects. But the use of pesticides and insecticides has led to a scarcity of food for them. The toxic chemicals have driven them away.

“We have planted native berries like karonda and kundni, grasses and shrubs, and kept feeder boxes, artificial nests and earthen pots in the sparrow village, which was opened to the public last month,” the conservationist, who helped build the Goraiya Gram, said.

Two insect hostels have been created at the “Gauraiya Gram” as sparrows feed on insects and worms.

A forest department official said this is the first such effort in the national capital to make people aware about the protection and conservation of the state bird.

“The rapid decline in the number of sparrows had hogged headlines a few years ago. Several studies attributed it to urbanisation and mindless use of pesticides and insecticides, and even electromagnetic radiation. So we thought of doing something.

“A baseline survey will be conducted after six months and thereafter, we will count the number of sparrows after a year to establish the impact of our conservation efforts,” the official said.

House sparrow or the passer domesticus is listed as ‘least concern’ in the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.