Mumbai’s flamingo sighting bolsters claim for Ramsar site status

The sighting of nearly 1.22 lakh flamingos in Mumbai and the greater Mumbai Metropolitan Area (MMR) bolsters the Maharashtra government’s request to declare the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary (TCFS) a Ramsar site.

The TCFS, spread over 1,690.5 hectares, will be the first Ramsar wetland in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) once the nomination is approved.

A Ramsar site is a wetland designated as being of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty on the environment, signed in Iran in 1971, which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation. for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. .

Read also | Number of flamingos in Thane Creek jumps to 1.4 lakh

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, a wildlife and aerial photographer and naturalist, is keen for the TCFS to be declared a Ramsar site. “In previous years, the TCFS has reported over a lakh of flamingos, including this exceptional record for the maximum number of flamingos this year. We intend to protect these migratory birds and their habitat for posterity. We had also proposed TCFS certification for Ramsar site (Wetlands of International Importance) and the same was endorsed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray,” said Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Virendra Tiwari, who leads the cell of the mangrove.

As thousands of tourists flocked to parts of TCFS and other creek areas in the MMR to catch a glimpse of the Sea of ​​Rose, researchers in this study also documented a unique lesser flamingo behavior called the ‘Flamingo March’ or ‘Dance of the pink flamingos’.

“This breeding behavior of Lesser Flamingos is particularly observed from April to the end of May, i.e. a few days before departure for their nesting sites. In recent years, this behavior has also been observed in the NRI Wetlands complex, Navi Mumbai and Mahul-Sewri mudflats, Mumbai,” said Siddhesh Surve of the Mangrove Foundation. March to May, due to pandemic restrictions.

The highest numbers of flamingos are usually seen during these three months,” said BNHS Deputy Director Rahul Khot, adding that his team is currently investigating the reasons for the sharp increase. “Greater flamingos prefer freshwater and estuarine environments, which Mumbai offers in abundance with its coves and inland wetlands. Also, the type of food they might get here can make this ecosystem more appealing to them. These birds are filter feeders that feed mainly on algae and small crustaceans which are responsible for their pink coloration,” Khot said.

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