Thane Creek Flamingos Swell To1.4 Lakh – BNHS

Must Preserve Satellite Wetlands For Air Safety, Say Greens

The Maharashtra government has already recommended TCFS to be accorded the status of a Ramsar Site

MUMBAI: The number of flamingos flying into the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary (TCFS) on Mumbai coast has registered a dramatic rise from about 8,000 to 1,40,000 during the last two decades, highlighting the need to preserve the satellite wetlands in the vicinity from the air safety point of view as well, researchers say.

The research done by BNHS has confirmed that there is a definite flight pattern of the pink birds through the central Asian Flyway with the Mumbai coast emerging as their favourite destination.

The Maharashtra government has already recommended TCFS to be accorded the status of a Ramsar Site to be conserved under the global agreement on wetlands.

BNHS Deputy Director Dr Rahul Khot said flamingos roost and nest in the mudflats in the TCFS area during low tides. They fly to other areas in Mumbai Metropolitan Region where BNHS identified at least eight biodiversity properties as satellite wetlands for TCFS.

These wetlands at Belpada, Jasai, Bhendkhal, Panje in Uran, DPS, NRI and TS Chanakya wetlands in Nerul Navi Mumbai and Bhandup in Northeast Mumbai, serve as refuge areas during high tides for the avian guests, Dr Khot pointed out. BNHS is also studying birds at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai.

The migratory birds land in MMR during the September-May period and their destinations must be protected to prevent bird hits to aircraft at the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA), he said and recalled that “we have been repeatedly alerting the authorities on this.”

NatConnect Foundation which has campaigned for getting the ‘Flamingo City’ tag to Navi Mumbai regretted that the wetlands, which are the bird destinations, that ought to be protected are being destroyed. The BNHS study on bird flight pattern has been commissioned by city planner CIDCO which itself is ignoring the recommendations, NatConnect director B N Kumar pointed out. Birds have stopped visiting the four wetlands of Uran as they have been partially or totally buried.  The NRI-TSC wetlands are under constant threat, he said and called for restoring the damaged wetlands of Uran

Time and again the migratory birds’ site fidelity – the habit of repeatedly visiting the same area – has been proved and the winged guests can create chaos in the air if they miss their destinations, Kumar pointed out in his fresh missives to civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray.

In another development, BNHS scientist Mrugank Prabhu has confirmed that his team found several species of birds such as Black-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Marsh sandpiper and Curlew Sandpiper at a wetland near Sanjivani School, Kharghar.