Have you ever seen a house sparrow in your locality? If this
question was asked some two decades ago, people would have laughed
at you. There were thousands of house sparrows in the Twin Cities
flying in to and out of the houses and around the houses, happily
chirping away.

The association between human beings and sparrows dates back to
several centuries unlike any other bird. But, unfortunately the
sparrows have almost disappeared from the Twin Cities due to the
destruction of its habitat, air and water pollution, increased
predation by hawks and domestic cats, competition for food by
other urban species, etc .
Like sparrows, several species of flora and fauna which were
synonymous with the Twin Cities till a few years ago have now
vanished mainly due to the interference of human beings, who are
responsible for air and water pollution and other factors
detrimental to their survival.

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The Twin Cities have almost become a concrete jungle now due to
rapid urbanisation with hardly any greenery left for the birds to
nest. The human beings are responsible for the disappearance of
flora and fauna and water bodies.

Apart from the sparrows, the other endangered bird species are
crows, vultures, parrots, owls, kestrel, parakeet, munia, kites,
Indian Roller (pala pitta), humming birds, Great Indian bustard
and Jerdon’s Courser. All these are scheduled birds and most of
them have been declared endangered by the Ministry of Environment
and Forests.

Several species of butterflies and fish have also vanished from
the Twin Cities and this has been acknowledged by R Hampaiah,
Chairman of the Andhra Pradesh State Biodiversity Board.

The expansion of urban areas and related issues such as pollution
and habitat destruction, no doubt had left their impression on
the environs, but the protected areas (public and private-owned),
green islands in the form of large campuses of universities and
institutions and patches of vegetation in the semi-urban and
peri-urban regions provided safe haven to bio-diversity, he added.

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Hampaiah said there was an urgent need to protect birds from the
developmental pressures of urbanisation to maintain the eco
balance. Scientific investigations carried out by the academicians
of different universities and institutions in the Twin Cities on
different aspects of biological diversities had revealed
interesting patterns of spatiotemporal distribution of species, he
said.

He said that out of the 360 butterfly species, already 100 of them
had vanished due to serious air, water and sound pollution. “We
have identified some these species and are breeding them outside
the City. We will bring them to the City and leave them in major
parks here. We have suggested to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal
Corporation (GHMC) to plant local species like neem, jamoon,
tamarind, maredu, bamboo, mango, ficus and other trees as they are
self-propagating trees and many birds are attracted to these
trees’’ he added.

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Hussain Sagar, which used to have 500 fish varieties, today has
just two varieties called Tilapia and Cat Fish. These fishes were
introduced to eat away weeds and water hyacinth but unfortunately
they had eaten away all the other fish species present in the
lake.

The immersion of idols in the lake has also led to serious water
pollution, Hampaiah said and added it was time the government
acted swiftly and firmly to check the pollution. #KhabarLive

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