ARE SPARROWS LOST?

Ever watched a group of birds sitting on the boundaries of your house and munching on rice grains or bajra grains? If yes, then my friend you’re one of those fortunate ones who saw those little beauties called sparrows ( if you are an Indian you Would relate more to the word Gauraiya) . Now a lot of people would get into nostalgia that how the house used to echo with chirps of these little birds. And then, you would realise that where are they now? Why don’t we see them now? It is because we became the reason behind their declining numbers.

Sparrows belong from the Passeridae family. One of the smallest members of the Aves class, sparrows can fly upto a speed of 46 km/hr. They are found mainly in Africa, Europe and Asia. There are mainly 5 types of sparrows in India. But alas! None of them are seen now in common parts of India. To see a sparrow now, you need to move towards North West sub continent of India and North East India.

TYPE 1: House Sparrow ( passer domesticus ) males of these type have darker heads and greyish crown whereas females are muddy colored. Males are stout whereas females are slender and tall. Found in Indian subcontinent and north east India

HOUSE SPARROW

TYPE 2 : Spanish Sparrows ( passer hispaniolensis) males have brownish crown with black chest. Females are taller than males and have fine white strokes on the belly region. They are seen in India mainly in winters. And are seen in Nepal and Pakistan also.

SPANISH SPARROW

TYPE 3 : Sind Sparrows (passer pyrrhonotus) males have brown crown and black mark on the throat whereas the females have greyish markings on body and also have clear white belly. Found in North West India. These are the smallest sparrows.

SIND SPARROW

TYPE 4 : Russet Sparrow (passer rutilans) males have no such black markings but have yellowish color in belly region whereas females are more prominent in color and have dark strokes and yellowish color in belly region.

RUSSET SPARROW

TYPE 5 : Eurasian Tree Sparrow (passer montanus) males and females have similar appearance and are found in Eastern ghats and in North East India.

EURASIAN TREE SPARROW

REASONS BEHIND FAST DISAPPEARING SPARROWS :

  1. Felling of trees
  2. Lack of nesting places : sparrows build nest in cavities of buildings and  since the new glass buildings have no such crevices the nesting becomes a challenge for sparrows.
  3. Trees like Mehndi and Adulsa And are home for sparrows and now these trees are getting vanished everyday.
  4. Sparrows take water and dust bath and now in cities the dust bath is not really a possible activity.
  5. The extensive usage of chemicals in agriculture is ruining food of sparrows and also becomes one of the major reason for death of sparrows.
  6. The radiation from cell phones damages the nervous system of sparrows.
  7. In India people believe that consuming the male sparrows will enhance their sexual power
DEAD SPARROWS AFTER CONSUMING AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS

WHAT CAN WE DO?

We can make a small nest box at our terrace so that birds would come and sit under them and could lay there eggs. If not a nest box, we should try and keep bowls of rice grains and water for the birds to feed on. We can stop the hunting of these birds by spreading awareness.

Good part?

Since 2010 March 20th is celebrated as world sparrows day. Also, according to IUCN red list, every year approximately 1315 sparrows are rising and now North Eastern lands are experiencing a lot of sparrows since 2018.

Thank you for taking out time to read the blog. Hope I was able to give you information about the beautiful bird. Do like and comment if this blog was helpful to you. Let’s stand for the wild together.

VULTURES : THE LOST SCAVENGERS OF INDIA.

Since my childhood my grandfather used to talk about how often vultures were seen in the sky, searching and scanning the ground for dead animals to feed on. He quoted that vultures are “nature’s housekeepers. “ He also told me that never in their life they had to call Municipal Corporation to pick up an animal’s corpse. A committee of vultures used to come on the corpse of the animal and used to eat the animal in minutes. Since then I feel perplexed that where are these vultures now? Why don’t we get to see them? Have they stopped eating flesh? Answer is no, they have not gone anywhere, they still eat bones and flesh, they are here, very near to us yet very far from us.

Vultures are really fascinating and interesting birds, they are categorised as scavengers and are divided into two group the old world vultures (consists of 16 species of vultures) and the new world vultures (consists of 7 species) . Very first Vultures typically originated from Africa and then more and more species were discovered from countries like Turkey, Egypt, India and Pakistan. The size of vulture differ from species to species typically between 1 metre – 3.5 metres, whereas the weight ranges from 4.4 kg – 12.5 kg. The wingspan ranges from 2 metres to 3.7 metres.

Indian Vulture ( the pride of india)

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT VULTURES :

  1. Vultures are social birds and are seen as a collective group. But they are the only bird that are having different collective nouns depending on what they are doing. Let’s put this up in an easy way, a group of vultures feeding on carcass of an animals is known as a wake, the group that is flying in the air and scans the land for animal corpses are called kettle, and generally when they are resting they are referred as a committee. Surprising right? Now let’s move to second point.
  2. Urohydosis is the process that vultures do to regulate there body temperature. In easy words they urinate on their body to regulate the temperature.
  3. Due to heavy body weight vultures fly through thermal current of the air which is done by only vultures and eagles.
  4. The first Saturday of September is now celebrated as international vultures day.

THE VULTURES OF INDIA: Before year 1990 more than 40 million vultures were found in India. The sky was always filled with circling kettle of vultures searching for corpses. They are currently found in Rajasthan, Himalaya, Ganga plate and the north east. The different types of vultures found in India are as follows:

  1. Griffon Vulture
  2. Himalayan Vulture
  3. Bearded Vulture/ Lammergeier Vulture
  4. Slender billed Vulture
  5. White rumped Vulture / Oriental White-backed Vulture
  6. Cinereous Vulture
  7. Egyptian Vulture
  8. Red headed Vulture
  9. Indian Vulture ( the largest of all)
TYPES OF VULTURES FOUND IN INDIA

As mentioned earlier 40 million vultures were present in India before the year 1990. But the recent calculations done by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) there were only 19000 vultures in India ( stats of 2017). The earth is loosing it’s natural cleaners. Even though we were late, but government imposed strict laws for conservation of critically endangered vultures but still the number is decreasing. What is the actual reason behind these decreasing figures?

REASON BEHIND DECLINING FIGURES :

  • In South East Asia the cattles are given injections of diclofenac in order to reduce the muscle pain in pregnancy. The vultures eat the corpse of such cattles and die as the chemical gets released in their bodies. Though the government has banned the use of diclofenac but still it is being used illegally which is a huge reason for deaths of these magnificent birds.
Dead vultures on consuming diclofenac from animal corspe
  • Another huge reason behind declining figures is the poaching of vultures the most heinous way of poaching is done with vultures, they are given poison infused meat so that the hunters don’t get caught easily. This is a major problem for the entire world. The image below shows a case from Botswana where hundreds of vultures were seen dead on ground
vultures poached by giving poison (from Botswana)
  • Harassing by humans is yet another major reason behind the declining figures. Humans catch them and open there wings, they slap and kick them and if the bird attacks in defence then it has to die, because how can you defend yourself from the most superior species? The image below shows how heinous humans can be (and this is just one photograph there are thousands of cases like these)
Group of men harassing an Indian Vulture

What can we do?

We can stop usage of diclofenac and use other non toxic medicines to give relief to cattles. We can stop people from harassing them, they are not our toys they are living animals and they should be treated with respect. We can stop the hunters from hunting them and should raise a voice to regain the nature’s housekeepers.

Good part?

The number of vultures are rising slowly and gradually and the IUCN states that by 2050 India will have same number of vultures as they were in 1990 ( 40 million ). But we need to increase this pace and we will do it. Also, one more good news, Bundelkhand witnessed a rapid rise of population during lockdown. People who were interviewed confessed that the group of vultures seen in Bundelkhand were 5-6 times the normal number of vultures.

Thank you for reading this blog! Thank you for showing that immense love that boosts me to write more. If you got even a little information after reading this blog then do like, comment and share it on your social media feeds. Remember! We can do it and we will do it.

GORILLA – A GENTLE GIANT

My last two blogs were about things we have lost and also about the agony of the animals, but from now the blogs will be less like blogs and more like a reality check. Since we have lost a lot of species this is high time to get together and fight against all odds to keep our flora and fauna species safe and sound.

Earth was earlier known as the planet of diversity but now the current scenarios have forced me to say that earth is now a planet in danger. And there are endless amount of species on earth that are endangered or critically endangered but first let us understand that what is endangered? and what is critically endangered?

An endangered species means that the particular species is near to extinction but it can be regained quickly if strict measures are followed. Whereas, a critically endangered species means that the particular species is very near to extinction and the risk is very high. The sad part is these beautiful gentle giants known as gorillas are now critically endangered species.

Let us know about gorillas first. Gorillas are really beautiful animal species belonging to the Homonidae family. The DNA of a gorilla is 95-98% similar to that of humans. A male gorilla weighs between 138kg-227kg whereas a female gorilla weighs around 70kg-113kg. Gorillas are herbivorous and live in a groups known as troops where there is an alpha male with around 10-15 females and juveniles( but the figures changes from troop to troop ) . Sexual diamorphism is seen prominently in Gorillas (males and females are very different in appearance and can easily be differentiated) . The males are also known as silverbacks (due to the grey marking on there back but this happens only in males)

Types of gorillas

The above image shows classification of gorillas. Now let’s study briefly about the different types.

TYPE 1 : EASTERN LOWLAND GORILLA :- These are a subspecies of the eastern gorilla and are the largest. They are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo and are critically endangered. There are around 3800 eastern lowland gorillas that are left (stats of 2016) the reason of the species being endangered is mainly due to poaching and destruction of there natural habitat through mining, logging and agriculture.

Eastern Lowland Gorilla

TYPE 2 : THE MOUNTAIN GORILLA :- They are also a subspecies of eastern gorilla and are found in two populations: One is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa The other population is found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This species is also critically endangered, as stated by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List there were only 241 gorillas left in the virunga population and 351 were left in the bwindi population. (Approximate figures). The reason of the species being endangered is due to loss of habitat and poaching.

Mountain Gorilla

TYPE 3 : WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLAS :- They are subspecies of the western gorilla and are found in Central Africa. They are the smallest subspecies of gorillas. They are also critically endangered and only 440 are left in the wildlife (approximate fogures) and 550 are in zoos for conservation. The reason of the species being endangered is due to poaching and loss of habitat, but a major decrease in the population was seen in 2004 due to the Ebola virus, only 40 western lowland gorillas were left by year 2010. But slowly and gradually they are growing. Let’s hope that there numbers increase and they can live there lives freely in the forests and not in zoos.

Western Lowland Gorilla

Type 4 : CROSS RIVER GORILLA :- These are again a subspecies of the western gorillas and were discovered in 1904. They are found in the Cameroon – Nigeria border region. They are critically endangered and only 75-110 gorillas are left in Nigeria and 125-185 are left in the Cameroon region. The reason of the species being endangered is again due to poaching and loss of natural habitat.

Cross River Gorilla

Even though their population are rising in the zoos, but the rate is very slow and in there natural habitat they are still being illegally hunted. There are strict laws to conserve the species, but then they are also loosing their natural homes because the mining, logging and agricultural processes are destroying their natural habitat. We should understand that without the help of humans we cannot regain these fascinating species. In order to increase the population rapidly more strict laws should be made, humans should realise that the forest lands are equally important as the agricultural lands. We do not check ourselves. But I want to ask you all a question. Can you imagine our earth with no Forests and animals? If not, then its high time, let’s come forward and put up an example to the world. I know we can do it, because we are humans, we are the topmost level of species in the food chain. We are the one’s that have the most complex brain structure. Let’s come together and show these beautiful species that we have changed and now we are ready to share our lands with them.

Thank you for taking out time to read the blog. If you got even a little information from the blog then please do share the blog on your social media feeds let us all stand together for our wildlife. Every single share matters because yes this journey is long but we will make it to the end. Also, I know the end would be beautiful. ❤

The extinct animals.

Just when the big bang recreated the earth, a lot of new species were born which primarily were rodents, reptiles, fishes and birds. But these species never knew that a species knows as homo sapiens or humans will use there so called complex brain structure and knowingly and unknowingly will become the reason behind poaching and hunting of the animals, and sooner and later not only humans became the reason behind extinction of several species of animals but also became the only species to create a huge ecological imbalance.

Since ancient times humans became reason behind extinction of the following species.

The picture above shows a marsupial which was called THYLACINE ( also known as tasmanian tiger or tasmaninan wolf)

Reason of extinction : over hunting by humans.

The image above shows a subspecies of zebras which was known as the QUAGGA.

Reason for extinction : over hunting by humans.

The image above shows the ZANZIBAR LEOPARD which belonged to Tanzania.

Reason of extinction : a myth was popular that animals are used by witches and alas! Humans hunted them till they got extinct.

The image above shows the JAVAN TIGER which were one of the biggest tiger species.

Reason of extinction : loss of habitat ( again which was done by humans. In ancient times people followed slash and burn agriculture method. In this method a group of people used to cut down trees of a particular forest and used to burn them, when the land used to get clear then people carried out agriculture on that land for a year or so and then used to move to another forest repeating the same process. Which resulted in an increase in the agricultural land and a decrease in the forests for which the javan tigers were easy to spot and were killed brutally)

The image above shows DODO a flightless bird that belonged to Mauritius.

Reason of extinction : over hunting by sailors for meat.

The above image shows a near ancestor of elephants which was known as WOOLLY MAMMOTH. Who doesn’t know this huge mammal? Yes, indeed we know this giant by names of Manny, Ellie and Peaches. Everybody has watched ice age movie and everybody loved them. But even these 6 tonne weighed huge giants couldn’t survive in this cruel world and disappeared around 10,000 years ago.

Reason of extinction : loss of natural habitat and hunting.

The above image shows a SABRE TOOTHED CAT/TIGER. Yes, we know them by the name of Diego from the movie ice age. They were not only one of the most powerful Animal breeds, but also were one of the most excellent hunters. They had an ability to open there jaws at an angle of 120°.

Reason of extinction : loss of natural habitat and over hunting by humans.

And these are only a handful of animals that are now extinct some more animals like Baiji white dolphin, Pyrenean Ibex, Stellers sea cow, Schomburgk’s Deer, Pinta Island Tortoise, Falkland Island Wolf, are all extinct and can never be regained. And we humans are greatly responsible for there deaths. But what we can do is that we can stop the poaching of the animals alive. Say no to Ivory because it is one of the major reason behind poaching of modern day animals like Elephants and Rhinoceros.

We can stop creating an ecological imbalance and should start conservation of our wildlife. Because a time will come when animals will be in books and not in forests and if it happens the ecosystem will be shattered.

Thank you for taking out time to read this blog. As I said we can stop creating an ecological imbalance and should start conservation of our wildlife. Because a time will come when animals will be in books and not in forests and if it happens the ecosystem will be shattered. earlier keep supporting and obviously the content will be getting better everyday. Hope you gained something by reading this.

Are animals really wild?

To start my very first blog, I must quote that I have been a wildlife enthusiast since my childhood and  in my entire life I was never attacked by any animal. I remember being a 12 year old child and sitting in between a group of grey Colobine ( commonly known as langur ) and I remember being treated as a baby by one of the female Colobine.

Animals attack human when they feel endangered. For an example a snake will bite you only when you’re really near to it’s territory. A rattlesnake gives warning by rattling its tail end but other snakes cannot do so and the only option left is to bite and run. So who is at fault? I guess it’s the humans, we act as intruders in the lives of wild animals and then we kill them. Don’t you think that we are the one’s that have disturbed the entire ecosystem?

We say that an animal was seen into a human colony, but do we realise that we are destroying there habitat  every single day? An animal always wants to be far away from human civilization but then we are not leaving any option in there hands. So what can we do?

What we can do is that we can stop intruding into there lives.We can plant trees to increase places where animals can live peacefully. This concept is known as pseudo foresting where humans plant trees in a specific area of land so as to create an ecological balance in there environment ( and these pseudo forests hold lives of hundreds of flora and fauna species). We can stop deforestation and we can plant more and more trees.

Have you ever questioned yourself?  If we have power to destroy the ecosystem than don’t we have the power to construct it again?                So let’s start doing our bit and help animals to live happily so that future generations do not listen about animals in stories but instead they can see them in real.

Thank you for taking out time to read the blog. This one was a real basic blog to make you realise that it’s we humans who are at fault but we can change the current scenario.

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