Citizens, Celebs Join Hands To Save The Flamingo

 

It was an unusual sight at the Sewri Jetty on a scorching afternoon on March 9, with Mumbaikars - young and old alike - gathered in huge numbers to get a glimpse of the pink beautiful birds - Flamingos. It could well be termed a Nature Fair as thousands of bird-watch lovers turned up at the spot within a span of 7 hours. 

The event, organised by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) had a twin objective - one, to showcase the flamingos and other water birds and two, to pass on the message of conservation to the general public.

Citizens, officials and celebrities join hands to save birds and the ecosystem

The Festival was inaugurated by unveiling a life size flamingo statue in the presence of BNHS staff, scientists, BNHS members, bird lovers, government officials, media and other nature loving Mumbaikars. Speaking on the occasion, BNHS Director, Dr Asad Rahmani said, "I am very happy to see that citizens, including children, have come in large numbers to see the birds. People have started relating with flamingos. The mudflats, mangroves and creeks where they live are a vital ecosystem, which need to preserved for the well-being of the city. We take this opportunity to once again insist that the proposed Mumbai Trans Harbour Link should be realigned on the Sewri end by about 500 metres to the south, so that the flamingo habitat is conserved." The Festival also saw the presence of many celebrities including corporates and film stars, promoting the cause of nature conservation.

The 'Pink' Flock

Looking towards the sea, one could see a Sea of Pink with about 15,000 Lesser and Greater Flamingo spread out on the mudflats foraging for food. In the background were the thick mangroves stretching up to Trombay and the oil refineries and power plants in Mahul in sharp contrast with the pink tide. The graceful movements of thousands of flamingos with their long elegant bodies, especially when flying in unison, were a mesmerising sight. Apart from flamingos, it was also a good occasion to see other species of resident and migratory birds including herons, egrets, ibises, gulls, terns, plovers, sandpipers and kingfishers. 

Education and Conservation

BNHS and its team were out in full force explaining the ways of the birds, their habitat and the threats faced by them. Observing the flamingos under the guidance of BNHS experts with state-of-the-art binoculars and spotting scopes is a once-in-a-year experience. Along with this opportunity to view the birds to one’s heart’s content, the Festival also had popular sections such as the colourful illustrated exhibition on flamingos and activities for students including face painting, bird tattoos and ‘span your wings’. Thus, the Flamingo Festival successfully played its vital role of introducing the world of birds to the citizens and spreading the message of nature conservation.

Kids and grown-ups alike were making a beeline to click photos of the birds as well as their own photos with the flamingo statue kept at the venue. The enthusiasm of seeing the birds and the satisfaction thereafter was evident on the faces of all.

BUREAU REPORT
Mumbai

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