HYDERABAD: Highlighting the adverse environmental impact of urbanisation, the Nehru Zoological Park has included indigenous birds like house sparrows and mynahs in its enclosures. A common sight across the city until a decade ago, sparrows and mynahs are a rare sight in and around Hyderabad now and have been thought fit to be included in the zoo.
Zoo officials hence decided to showcase the indigenous birds along with other exotic birds in the recently inaugurated aviary, which has 36 enclosures. S. Rajashekar, zoo curator, said the indigenous birds were gradually vanishing from the city.
While bird watchers welcomed the move, they called for collective efforts to safeguard bird habitats amid rapid concretisation. "With native trees vanishing from the city, the greenery we have in the 'newly developed' areas like Gachibowli is not helping the cause as most of the trees are of non-native species like conocarpus, which have nothing to offer to the birds," said Anand Vishwanadha, a bird watcher.
Another bird watcher, Hari Krishna, said the trees grown in gated communities hardly provide any food or shelter to the native birds. “Unlike in our childhood, today's kids don't know what the native birds look like,” he said. "In a natural phenomenon, the birds are migrating to remote areas where there is favourable habitat with lesser human intervention," he added.
"The number of birds — resident and migratory — has drastically plummeted in the last three-four years, mainly due to habitat loss. With most trees along the roads in residential areas being wiped out and water bodies disappearing due to concretisation, the city became no longer liveable for birds," explained Anand.
J.V.D. Murthy, a birder, said there were few trees left in the city due to massive construction activity. "The birds need green cover from hedges and smaller trees for nesting and to protect themselves from predators. Even in rural habitats, trees are being chopped for road expansions," he expressed.