Through the Lens: Life and Politics in Asia | Society | South Asia

A Man on a Mission to Save India’s Sparrows

Sparrows are threatened with extinction. One lawyer from Uttar Pradesh is trying to prevent that.

Vishal Arora
By Avinash Giri and Vishal Arora for

Waking up to sparrows’ chirping once characterized a typical morning in India, but the bird is now rarely heard, or seen. As conservationists are expressing concerns over its possible extinction in the near future, a young lawyer in northern India is working overtime to save the bird.

Sparrows have always lived close to humans by building their nests in holes, roofs, and crevices on people’s houses. However, modern-day architecture leaves no room for a sparrow to build its nest.

According to a report published in 2010 by the National Dairy Research Institute, the bird’s population had declined by 80 percent in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Their numbers have fallen similarly in other Indian states, as well as in other countries, it is believed. For example, sparrows were included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in the United Kingdom in 2002.

To change this trend, advocate Pushpendra Singh of Lalitpur in Uttar Pradesh manufactures and distributes artificial nests in his neighborhood to provide shelter to the bird – an approach which many experts believe can prevent the bird’s extinction. Through his nonprofit group, called Manav, which he formed in 2013 with the help of his friends, Singh has also been spreading awareness in his city about the importance of the bird for humans and humanity