Flamingos make their way to Panje wetland, first time this year
For the first time this year, flamingos have made their way to the endangered Panje wetlands in Uran.
The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) confirmed that flocks of flamingos had made their way to Panje between Thursday and Friday. “The impact of severe cyclone Nisarga and heavy rain in the Uran region had scattered flamingos from congregated habitats and most likely moved them to this open space in Panje, reinstating the fact that it is an important wetland,” said Deepak Apte, director, BNHS.
Spread across 213-hectare (ha) core and 157 ha buffer area for migratory bird roosting, Panje holds up to 1,50,000 birds (migratory and resident) during winters.
While there have numerous reports of lesser flamingos spotted at Talawe wetlands, Panje remained dry throughout this year, as most of the high tide inlets to the site had blocked by construction, said environmentalists alleging that work for the Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone was allowing environmental violations to happen.
“It is a delightful sight to see these birds return, but the area continues to face threats as the local police are stopping the fishing community from entering Panje. The site needs immediate protection,” said Nandkumar Pawar, environmentalist.
Ornithologist and naturalist Sunjoy Monga said he had received reports of about 1,000 to 1,200 flamingo numbers at Panje. “There is no reason that the state can provide for not declaring Panje and Talawe as sanctuaries or conservation reserves anymore. The events this year stand testimony of why they need to be protected,” he said.
Meanwhile, the City Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. (Cidco) said protecting Panje was not under their jurisdiction anymore. “The area belongs to NMSEZ and any decision regarding its protection or destruction is in their hands, not ours,” said Pramod Patil, nodal officer (environment), Cidco.