Sea of pink close to Mumbai — why 1.3 lakh flamingos have flocked to Thane Creek, the ‘highest ever’

Mumbai: The Mumbai Metropolitan Area (MMR) is witnessing a “bloom of pink” as a report variety of flamingos have been noticed on the Thane Creek this yr.

Over 1.33 lakh flamingos have been noticed throughout the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary, Sewri, and adjoining areas this yr till Could. That is the very best variety of the migratory birds ever noticed within the area, in keeping with Rahul Khot, deputy director on the Bombay Pure historical past Society (BNHS), a pan-India wildlife analysis organisation.

Final yr, this quantity stood at only some a whole bunch. “This can be a sharp improve since earlier years and particularly final yr (2020-21), when the better flamingo abundance was the bottom (324-569) throughout all three areas (Thane, Sewri and Uran) and fewer than 2 per cent of the inhabitants was recorded within the previous two years,’’ learn a joint assertion issued by the Maharashtra forest division, the Mangrove Basis, a registered society working underneath the division’s mangrove cell, and the BNHS.

Of six species of flamingos discovered the world over, two may be noticed in India — the better flamingo and the lesser flamingo.

Lesser flamingos at Thane Creek | Credit: BNHS
Lesser flamingos noticed at Thane Creek | Credit score: BNHS

The BNHS began monitoring and recording the variety of flamingos coming into the MMR area in 2018. In 1994, the forest division counted 8,000 better flamingos within the area, in keeping with the analysis physique.

Khot instructed ThePrint that it’s tough to pinpoint the rationale why flamingos have are available report numbers this yr, however urbanisation does have one thing to do with it.

“The variety of flamingos has been altering for the reason that final 20 years. Traditionally, they have been much less in quantity as a result of habitat was not appropriate. However resulting from speedy urbanisation and the expansion of mangroves, habitat grew to become appropriate,” he added. 

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How air pollution performs a task

Flamingos flock to the MMR area between November and Could. For them, wetlands are a perfect feeding floor. Subsequently, Thane Creek, Sewri and Uran are a number of the areas the migratory birds flock to throughout their go to.

“Most of those flamingos come from Gujarat, however a few of them may even be coming from so far as Iran, Africa. Larger flamingos favor freshwater and estuary environments, which Mumbai provides in lots because of its creeks and inland wetlands. Additionally, the type of meals they is likely to be getting right here could make this ecosystem extra interesting to them. These birds are filter feeders primarily feeding on algae and small crustaceans that are accountable for their pink colouration,’’ stated Khot. 

Based on Debi Goenka, govt trustee on the Conservation Motion Belief, a non-governmental organisation, the circumstances at Thane Creek are beneficial for flamingos due to air pollution. 

“There may be fairly a little bit of air pollution at Thane Creek, which is conducive for microorganisms to develop. These birds feed on such microorganisms like blue inexperienced algae. Furthermore, different wetlands and habitats are shrinking and which may be why flamingos are coming in massive numbers to Thane Creek,” he instructed ThePrint.

The BNHS has tagged six flamingos with radio transmitters to review the birds and discover out the place they go, the place they breed and the way they journey. “Subsequent yr, we will give out extra particulars,” stated Khot.

Extreme development, destruction of mangroves a menace

The specialists nonetheless warned that extreme development and destruction of mangroves and wetlands might be a menace to those birds sooner or later.

In February this yr, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had cleared a proposal to designate the biodiversity-rich Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary as a ‘Ramsar website’, in accordance with the Ramsar Conference to the Centre.

Signed in 1971, the Ramsar Conference on Wetlands of Worldwide Significance Particularly as Waterfowl Habitat is a world treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

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