Flamingo safari is a flaming success this season

Big hit: The pink beauties, as the flamingos are fondly called, will be in the city till the monsoon arrives.  

The ongoing flamingo season is proving profitable for the Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre in Airoli. Since December, the centre has made a business of ₹20 lakh, a major chunk of which has come through the flamingo boat rides. While not more than two boat rides are organised daily, the overwhelming response has already led to a baseline study to see the feasibility of increasing the number of boats without disturbing the birds.

“The flamingo safari is a hit. We are always booked for several days at a time,” said N. Vasudevan, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Maharashtra Mangrove Cell. According to Mr. Vasudevan, the baseline study, conducted by them, has shown that they can operate up to six rides a day and gradually increase them to 10. The rides depend on high tides as there has to be enough water for the boats to sail through.

He said, “Based on the study, we have proposed a management plan to the government. Our study has looked at controlling pollution levels and retaining the integrity of the mudflats. More importantly, the flamingos are also very sensitive so we don’t want to disturb them too much.”

The pink beauties, as the flamingos are fondly called, will be in the city till the monsoon arrives. The Bombay Natural History Society recently revealed that 1,21,000 flamingos were in the city. The increasing numbers of these birds have put a focus on the need to offer a pollution-free habitat while they remain here.

“Most of the visitors we get are nature lovers. They are extremely sensitive. We don’t go very close to the birds,” said Mayur Bothe, Range Forest Officer, Thane creek flamingo sanctuary. While the Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre opened in April 2017, the boat rides started in February last year.

“There was very little awareness about the boat rides last year. We put out displays in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the Gateway of India and other tourist spots, which helped in spreading the word,” said Mr. Bothe. This season, the rides have been full on weekdays and weekends.

The centre operates a 24-seater and a seven-seater boat. While the per-person cost is ₹330 and ₹440 on the 24-seater boat for weekdays and weekend, the seven-seater can be entirely hired for ₹5,500 and ₹6,600 on weekdays and weekend respectively.

Bird count starts today

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has invited bird lovers from across the country for a two-day-long flamingo counting exercise that will commence on Saturday.

Bird watchers, nature enthusiasts, who have registered with the BNHS, will go to more than 50 locations across the country to count the migratory birds and report the data to the BNHS. In Maharashtra, the exercise will be carried out in Sewri mudflats, Vashi creek, Airoli creek, Thane creek, Uran, Bhigwan, Ujani Dam among many other locations.

“We don’t have the count of flamingos from the country. What we have so far is data from the census carried out in Mumbai. Therefore, this will be an enriching exercise,” said Rahul Khot, assistant director, BNHS.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 7:12:10 PM |

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