Mumbai Witnesses Unprecedented Numbers of Flamingos. Thankfully, Social Distancing Doesn’t Apply to Wildlife

Animals

Mumbai Witnesses Unprecedented Numbers of Flamingos. Thankfully, Social Distancing Doesn’t Apply to Wildlife

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

In the last few weeks social distancing norms have been in place in most parts of the country, and indeed, the world. But as social media is reminding us the same rules don’t apply to wildlife, which has been using this time away from humans to thrive.

The latest instance of this was seen in Mumbai, a city not as known for its flora and fauna as much as its snaking traffic jams.

Residents of the city were understandably surprised this weekend to see a flamboyance of flamingos grace parts of Navi Mumbai, Thane creek and Vasai.

Stunning photos and videos, showing the birds gracing Mumbai’s backwaters in large numbers, were shared widely on social media.

While it isn’t uncommon for the pink birds to descend on the island, the sheer number that appeared this year caught the attention of locals and forest officials alike.

The Range forest officer of Thane creek attributed this rise, in Mumbai Mirror, to the drop in sound and noise pollution. The same article quotes a local fisherman as saying he had never seen these many birds on Panju island (a small landmass in Vasai creek) before.

Most flamingos migrate to Mumbai every year from the Rann of Kutch, while some are said to come from as far as Afghanistan, Iran and Israel. This year the Bombay Natural History Society estimates there are 25 per cent more birds in the city than last year.

Residents of the city, meanwhile, will continue to remain under lockdown for another two weeks at least, as coronavirus cases continue to steadily rise. But, at this point, it’s clear that this extension is bound to affect some species more than others.

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