Maximum City is home sweet home to 1.21L flamingos!

Maximum City is home sweet home to 1.21L flamingos!

BNHS study says 1,21,000 flamingos reside in the city

Photo from BNHS

The pink beauties, as they are fondly called, seem to like Mumbai and how!

Results from the latest census from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) reveals that 1,21,000 flamingos live in Mumbai. These results were from the flamingo census conducted in January 2019. The study shows that the number of lesser flamingos are on the rise while the greater flamingos are declining.

In the first comprehensive study of flamingos around Mumbai, BNHS is conducting long-term ecological studies on flamingos and other waders at the eastern seafront of Mumbai (Sewri-Nhava seascape) to understand the impact of development activities on these birds. This study also aims to study the feeding ecology and association of birds with macrobenthic fauna (tiny organisms found in mud), impacts of anthropogenic activities and pollution on macrobenthos and waterbirds.

“It is very encouraging to see a large number of flamingos arriving around Mumbai. This underlines the importance of the critical habitats in and around the Mumbai region. It also highlights the necessity of such long-term comprehensive studies to understand migratory birds and chart future conservation plans,” said Rahul Khot, Principal Investigator of this project and Assistant Director, BNHS

Counting method

Both the banks of the Thane Creek (Vitava to Sewri and Vitava to JNPT) have been divided into transects of 1 kilometre each. All the transects were surveyed by multiple teams of researchers and assistants in hand-rowed boats to count lesser and greater flamingos in one day. The surveys were conducted on three consecutive days to increase the reliability of the counts.

It can be observed that the number of lesser flamingos are on the rise from October 2018 and currently at its peak with more than one lakh birds. Also, the number of sub-adult birds can be seen decreasing since May 2018. On the other hand, numbers of greater flamingos show a decreasing trend since October 2018. The increased number of the lesser flamingos could be due to the migration of a large number of birds during January 2019.

“It is excellent news. But it also means that we have to be more responsible and sensitive while planning development in the region. We also need to focus and work to clean the highly polluted eastern seafront so that we provide a toxicity-free habitat for flamingos and other migratory birds. This is indeed positive news ahead of the Convention on Migratory Species that will be hosted by the Government of India in 2020,” noted Dr Deepak Apte, Director BNHS.