Maharashtra ‘tops’ flamingo count chart in country
Maharashtra has nearly three-fourths of the country’s flamingo population, found a study by citizens on February 23-24.
The data, which was shared with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), is based on information collected from 113 sites in 10 states and a Union Territory.
The data was released on Tuesday at the International Conference on Wetlands and Migratory Waterbirds of the Asian Flyways in Lonavala. Independent experts were sceptical about the data as the results of such studies are determined by the number of participants, which means that the findings may not be accurate.
Flamingos are migratory birds divided into two families – greater and lesser - protected under schedule IV of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
The study counted 88,906 lesser and 51,655 greater flamingos across India, taking the count to 1,40,561.
Of this, 1,03,196 flamingos (73.4%) were counted from Maharashtra — 83,364 lesser and 19,832 greater flamingos — across 11 locations including six areas in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
For greater flamingos, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu followed Maharashtra. Gujarat and Rajasthan recorded the second and third highest count for lesser flamingos.
“The purpose was to develop a pan-India perspective through citizen science effort during a two-day window. The data is purely a preliminary indicator of locations where flamingos are found in India,” said Deepak Apte, director of BNHS, adding that the activity needs to be repeated every three months (for at least two years) to understand a trend.
Citizen science efforts come with limitations, said ornithologist Satish Pande.
“We all know Gujarat has maximum flamingo species but it is clear that there was lesser participation from other states (apart from Maharashtra). We need to continue such monitoring practices but publish studies based on scientific parameters,” he said.