India Post stamp to give save-sparrow campaign wings

special cover released after Delhi makes house sparrow its 'state bird'

The campaign to save the humble house sparrow from extinction got another shot in the arm on Monday when India Post released the special cover commemorating the Delhi government's decision to make the species the city's 'state bird'.

Designed by Nature Forever Society, the cover features a painting by UK-based artist Sue Tranter.

Coming close on the heels of the city government's August 14 announcement to make the sparrow the state bird, the special cover was unveiled to increase public awareness, especially the need for habitat conservation in the urban environment.

Welcoming the move, Mohammad Dilawar of Nature Forever Society said: "For the past seven years, Nature Forever Society has been working to raise the profile of the house sparrow and to involve citizens from all walks of life in the conservation movement. The efforts are now bearing fruit as the sparrow is finally getting the attention it deserves. And till now, only exotic birds and tigers have been featured on stamps."

"We thank India Post for bringing out a special cover, right after it was declared the state bird of Delhi," Dilawar, who founded the society, said.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had earlier expressed concern over the dwindling number of house sparrows (Passer domesticus subspecies indicus) in the city. She hoped that the new status would help conserve the species.

Once a common species, the tiny sparrow is now at the top of the list of birds facing extinction. "The bird has disappeared in the city because of rapid urbanisation. The sparrows fly within a radius of two-three km. We will have to create an atmosphere conducive to the habitat of sparrows in the city," the Chief Minister said.

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