Thane Creek, declared as a flamingo sanctuary since 1994, has been attracting the winged creatures in large numbers. By this November, experts say, more than 30,000 of these beautiful birds descend on this place and occupy nearby mudflats and mangroves.
They stay in here till May, after which most of the birds migrate to the Bhuj area of Gujarat for breeding, leaving a small resident population behind.
On 6 August, the Maharashtra government had issued a notification declaring the northern part of Thane Creek as 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.
Spread across 1,690 hectare, the sanctuary will include 896 hectare of mangroves and 794 hectare of adjacent water body and is located on the western bank, between Airoli and Vashi bridges linking Mumbai with Navi Mumbai.
The Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit under the Mangrove Cell will be responsible for the management of the Sanctuary. Almost 90% of the flamingo population consists of Lesser Flamingos, while the remaining are Greater Flamingos.
Besides supporting a large congregation of Flamingos, the area is also a shelter for many other resident and migratory birds. In all, around 200 species of birds have been reported seen from this area, which includes threatened species such as Greater Spotted Eagle.