Thousands of migratory flamingoes have been visiting the wetlands in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) this year, with a new record high.

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) reported a 25 percent increase in flamingo migration since 2019 after 1.2 lakh birds visited. This year, over 1.5 lakh birds were already spotted in the first week of April alone.

This can be attributed to a decrease in human activity, especially in areas Sewri, Thane Creek and the Talawe wetlands, comprising the NRI Complex, Seawoods and TS Chanakya in Navi Mumbai.

On a normal day, these areas see a lot of construction and human activity, but due to the nationwide lockdown, flamingoes were able to freely forage in the wetlands around.

“Wetland destruction and developmental activities across several areas of the eastern seafront is another reason why larger bird numbers are getting squeezed into smaller pockets like in Navi Mumbai,” Deepak Apte, director of BNHS, explained to The Print.

There are six flamingo species in the world, two of which are found in India – the greater flamingo (taller, with a black-tipped pink bill) and the near-threatened lesser flamingo (shorter, with a dark crimson bill).

Greater flamingoes population are declining, while lesser flamingoes are on the rise in India, according to a BNHS study.

Flamingoes have been considered an iconic animal in Mumbai. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region is said to be the second largest flamingo habitat along the west coast after Kutch, according to BNHS.

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