Song Of The Sparrow?
Human aggression and alluring greed have already created troubles for many a species in this world, especially for the sparrows (Scientific name: Passeridae). Since 2010, the the animal activists have been marking the World Sparrow Day on March 20 each year to raise awareness about the contributions of House Sparrow and other common birds to urban environments, and also about threats to their populations. Two to three decades ago, no one could imagine that a tiny bird, like sparrow, would become an endangered species. Nearly 48 types of sparrows can be found in different parts of the world. They are present in all the countries, except Antarctica.
Sparrows are very environment- and farmer-friendly birds, as they save the crops by eating harmful insects. They cannot consume more than 25gm of food, including insects and crops, in a single day. This particular bird, which is close to humans, can quickly adapt to any adverse situations. An incident could help us realise the importance of the sparrow…
In 1958, some agricultural experts told then Chinese leader Mao Zedong that a sparrow would consume 4-5kg of grains annually. So, the State could feed nearly 60,000 people if it managed to save those grains! A convinced Mao immediately asked his officials to launch the ‘Great Sparrow Campaign‘. The Chinese Government not only declared that “birds are public animals of Capitalism“, but also started banging pots and pans so that sparrows would not have the chance to rest on tree branches and would fall dead from the sky. Sparrow nests were reportedly destroyed, eggs were broken, and chicks were killed. Moreover, people also resorted to simply shooting the birds down from the sky. These mass attacks depleted the sparrow population, pushing it to near extinction. Furthermore, contests were held among enterprises, government agencies, and schools in cleanliness. Non-material rewards were given to those who handed in the largest number of rat tails, dead flies and mosquitoes, or dead sparrows…
Four years later in 1962, China faced the consequences of the Great Sparrow Campaign as rather than being increased, rice yields were substantially decreased after the campaign! Severe drought reportedly killed more than 20 million people in the Asian nation, and prompted the Government of China to end of the campaign against sparrows. Beijing had to replace sparrows with bed bugs, as the extermination of the birds upset the ecological balance, and insects destroyed crops as a result of the absence of natural predators. In fact, China had to import sparrows from erstwhile Soviet Union to tackle the situation. Still, the Global Community has learnt no lessons from the Great Sparrow Campaign!
China’s Misguided War Against Sparrows
Indian Biologist Koushik Pramanik has opined that the use of pesticides by the farmers makes it difficult for the sparrows to survive. The constant urbanisation is another reason behind their slow extinction. He has also opined that only sparrows could save crops in a natural way, without using chemicals… Meanwhile, a Professor of Radiophysics has said that the low level radio frequency of mobile towers is damaging the nervous system of sparrows and other birds. It not only affects their immunity power, but also the reproductive power, abilities to determine the direction and other skills. Therefore, they fall as the easy preys to their hunters.
While Sparrow Pie is a delicious recipe in the Western countries, the Americans prefer Smoked Sparrow! As a result, a huge number of sparrows are paying the price for human greed. So, it is the time for the Global Community to save sparrows. Human Beings will have to prove that Sparrows have made no mistake by choosing the former as their friends!
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