Name - Bhavin Shah, 33
Place - Coimbatore
Sparrow Hero - Individual
At first glance, Bhavin Shah, 33, is just an ordinary businessman, a wholesaler of FMCG goods from Coimbatore since a very young age. But behind his understated, self-effacing persona is a passionate conservationist, a silent crusader of the lesser known, oft-unnoticed environmental causes of the world. His latest penchant is to save the humble sparrows, which are seeing a fast decline in Indian cities as well as small towns, and bring them back into the urban environment.
Nine months ago, Shah took it upon himself to encourage sparrow conservation in the least likely arena – the industrial sector. Today, he has successfully assisted nearly 25 to 30 industries adopt a sparrow-friendly lifestyle, helping them with installation of nest boxes in their premises as well as involving them in conservation activity. Among them are India’s No.2 denim manufacturers Trigger Jeans and several others. Shah has even approached several colleges in Coimbatore to adopt nest boxes in their premises.
A man of few words, Shah says with his characteristic modesty, “Since childhood I have been interested in birds and still put a bowl of fresh water on my terrace everyday without fail. However, I have hardly seen any sparrow around my domicile but the water is used by other birds like mynahs and even crows.” Shah says that his interest in birds grew when he started going on trekking and bird watching trips with the Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore a few years ago.
“One day, I came across Nature Forever Society while surfing the internet and recognized the importance of saving the sparrows. I began popularizing the concept among colleagues and peers,” he says. A member of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) Shah decided to make use of his position in the forum to the advantage of the sparrows. He started handing out posters and reading material on sparrow conservation. Often, he does not hesitate spending from his own pocket to facilitate this purpose.
“I am glad that companies and industries are becoming more aware and interested in conservation. Often, when I’m sure that an organization will make good use of a nest box or a feeder given to them by me, I don’t mind giving it to them free-of-cost. The idea is to help the sparrow population grow,” he explains.