Urban biodiversity

Mysuru’s administration as well as residents seem to have chosen not to be engaged on issues of stray dogs, wandering cattle and prowling pigs in the city’s streets for now. The disappearance of sparrows and shrinking presence of crows, nature’s cleaning brigade did not receive attention in any quarters among the citizens to the extent it merited. In the meanwhile, rats and bandicoots, taking residence in the underground drain network across the city are silently pursuing their matchless act of reproduction for both proliferation and sustaining their species, unaware of the damage they are handing down to the residents of the city in the form of infections and afflictions in the august company of mosquitoes— Aedes aegypti, Anopheles, Culex. As for the city’s green cover, providing perch for the winged species and shade for pedestrians, less said the better, given the excessive use of axe by the administration for developing the city.

While the city’s literati, thanks to the ever alert dailies including this one, have been informed in great detail about the harm that human beings have done to the city’s flora and fauna, there is no information about the scenario in other major cities across the land, barring Bengaluru, the State capital, to some extent.

Legend has it that Birbal, that quick-witted confidant of the 16th century King, when asked about the number of crows in the capital city Agra, revealed a certain big number, with the rider that if his count was less than reality, then the resident crows had flown out to a neighbouring city to visit their kith and kin, while if the count was in excess, then guest crows had come to the capital city. In today’s situation, Birbal didn’t have to draw upon his wit to reply to the King by opting to provide a near exact number in the case of crows and the number zero in case of sparrows. Old-timers of Mysuru can recollect with sadness their times of past when the city’s speechless species jostled with residents with nobody complaining.

Concrete buildings, designed purely to satisfy human comfort and neglect of water-bodies that supported life of birds and animals that shared the urban space have separately and together mirrored the missing vision and wisdom needed for sustaining urban flora and fauna. The tragedy is that the current scenario is not showing any sign of changing to what it was like decades ago. Even as the land’s biodiversity stands hurt, urban biodiversity is hurt more.

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