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Light pollution to blame for flamingo deaths in Navi Mumbai?

Officials from BNHS in their preliminary observations opined that the change in the street lights could have resulted in disorientation of the birds and thus some of them could have landed on the road.
Last Updated : 26 April 2024, 13:29 IST
Last Updated : 26 April 2024, 13:29 IST

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Light pollution could be one of the reasons for the tragedies surrounding several flamingos at Nerul in Navi Mumbai, initial studies show.

Meanwhile, two more flamingos succumbed to their injuries at a Thane clinic taking the number of dead pink birds to 10 within a week. Five injured birds are being treated, forest department officials said.

Teams of officials from the Mangrove Cell, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), and Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation accompanied by environment lovers went around the DPS Flamingo Lake to check choke points that block the flow of inertial water.

The visit followed alarms raised by NatConnect Foundation director B N Kumar and Save Flamingos & Mangroves group’s Rekha Sankhala after the sudden spate of flamingo deaths around DPS Lake.

Officials from BNHS in their preliminary observations opined that the change in the street lights could have resulted in disorientation of the birds and thus some of them could have landed on the road. The birds could have crashed into obstacles while flying early in the morning, they said.

The NatConnect Foundation raised the issue of light pollution when flamingos began crashing into a gigantic signboard across the jetty road. Then CIDCO joint managing director quickly responded and had the signboard and the frame dismantled.

Now that the signboard does not exist anymore, there is no other apparent reason for the bird to have crashed, BNHS deputy director Dr Rahul Khot observed. He suggested to the NMMC engineers to change the lights in patches off Palm Beach Road toward DSP School and then near the Nerul Jetty road.

The shade over the bulbs should be at a 45-degree angle so that the light flows downward and not sideward, which can impact the vision of the migratory birds, Dr Khot said.

Deepak Khade, Divisional Forest Officer of Mangrove Cell-Mumbai, led the forest department’s team checking all the inlets. Khade will submit his report to the Mangrove Cell head V S Ramarao, who is also the additional principal chief conservator of forests.

Vanashakti director Stalin D also showed the blocked channels to the teams. The inlets which were opened by the forest department officials earlier are being blocked time and again.

One of the main blockages is at the southern end of the DPS Flamingo Lake while laying the road to the yet-to-be-utilised Nerul jetty. CIDCO contractors recklessly buried the channel, the inspection teams were told.

“This is exactly why we sought the intervention at the highest level from the Chief Minister for directions to CIDCO,” Kumar said.

Sankhala is mobilising support with the help of former corporator and environment lover Netra Shirke to appeal to the civic commissioner for immediate clearance of the tidal water blockages to restore the wetland to its pink of health, literally.

Sandeep Sareen of Navi Mumbai Environment Preservation Society (NMEPS) expressed concern over the attempts by vested interests to render DPS Flamingo Lake unattractive for migratory birds.

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Published 26 April 2024, 13:29 IST

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