Mumbai: The city can now boast of being the home to a wetland sanctuary. The Maharashtra government on Thursday issued a notification declaring the northern part of Thane Creek as a flamingo sanctuary under Section 18 of the Wildlife (Protection Act), 1972.
This sanctuary will be the state’s second marine sanctuary after the one at Malvan.
The 1,690 hectares sanctuary will include 896 ha of mangroves and 794 ha of adjacent water body and is located on the western bank, between the Airoli and Vashi bridges that connect Mumbai with Navi Mumbai. The Indian Express had first reported about the mangrove cell’s marine wildlife sanctuary proposal in Thane in March last year.
The 'Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit' under the Mangrove Cell will be responsible for the management of the Sanctuary.
Since 1994, the Thane Creek has been attracting flamingos in large numbers. By November, over 30,000 of these beautiful birds, along with their chicks descend in Mumbai and occupy the mudflats and the bordering mangroves. They stay in Mumbai till May, after which most of them migrate to the Bhuj area of Gujarat for breeding, leaving a small resident population.
Almost 90 per cent of the Flamingo population consists of Lesser Flamingos and the remaining are Greater Flamingos. A large number of waders are also spotted along with them.
Besides supporting a large congregation of Flamingos, the area is a refuge for many other resident and migratory birds.
In all, about 200 species of birds have been reported from this area, which include Globally Threatened Species like the Greater Spotted Eagle.
(With PTI inputs)