Mumbai’s flamingo sanctuary rides to start from February 1
Starting February 1, you will be able to take a boat ride through Thane creek mangroves to watch flamingos and other wetland birds.
A year after their plans were stalled by a lack of boats, the state mangrove cell has devised a one-hour ride along 10km of thick mangrove cover, starting from Airoli in Navi Mumbai to Vashi and back. Mangrove cell officials said this was the first such sanctuary in the country. Each journey will use a boat with a capacity of 24 people and a smaller eight-seater speed boat to enter less accessible areas.
The areas covered by the trip were declared a 1,690-hectare flamingo sanctuary in August 2016 to protect its bird population, including the flamingos that come there to feed during winter.
Officials said the boat ride will boost conservation in the area, which gets more than 40,000 flamingos, apart from other migratory birds, every year.
“Opportunities to view flamingos in Mumbai or the surrounding wetland patches were only possible from a distance at locations such as Sewri, Uran etc. Now, as we promote regulated tourism in this sanctuary, visitors will be able to view these migratory birds and the mangrove ecosystem from very close,” said N Vasudevan, additional principal chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell.
Boating activities will be inaugurated either on January 21 or 29, and opened to the public from February 1, he said.
While the cost of one seat on the large boat called Flamingo is Rs 300 during weekdays and Rs 400 during weekends, families or groups of seven (one-seat for the driver) can hire the seven-seater called ‘Kaustubh’ for Rs 5,000.
The speed of the boats will be regulated so that it does not disturb the birds, said Vasudevan.
Visitors will be able to refer to a book each about the birds of Thane creek, and a guide, trained by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), will be present on each boat.