The onset of monsoon means most of the migratory flamingos have left the wetlands in Uran. However, at Funde and Panje coastal villages, a flock of around 800 lesser flamingos are still seen, much to the delight of birdwatchers and visitors.
“While a maximum number of flamingos and other wetland bird species are seen in the months of November-December, the beauty of this region is such that several flamingos are still staying over here. Our concern is that the rapid development of Uran is depleting such bird habitat, hence something must be done to conserve the avian biodiversity ,“ said activist and birdwatcher, Jayant Thakur.
Environmentalist D Stalin of NGO Vanashakti added: “Vast tracts of mudflats along Uran have already been destroyed by landfills and debris dumping for the purpose of various special economic zones by the authorities. So, the demand of the local villagers is justified to at least save the remaining patches of wetlands and thereby conserve the flamingos and other bird species.'' Stalin added that in the last eight years, there has been such rapid development around Nhava Sheva, JNPT and other parts of Uran, that it is unnerving to even visualize a concrete jungle devoid of birds, if all the wetlands are destroyed. While the famous Karnala bird sanctuary in Panvel is within the 10km radius of the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport, the Uran villagers have urged the state government that a `flamingo protection zone' must be earmarked in these coastal areas.
A recent baseline bird survey conducted by the Bombay Natural History Society has revealed that around 63 bird species have been spotted in the area. These include greater and lesser flamingos, wad ers, gulls, terns and Eurasian curlews among others.
The maximum bird count of 80,000 was recorded in December by the researchers. “There is need for providing conservation offsets to establish bird sanctuaries on coast and mangroves away from the influence of air traffic,“ a survey stated