The Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary (TCFS), spread over 6522.5 hectares, was recently accredited as a Ramsar site. And 11 more wetlands, including the neighbouring eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) which is also under protection, are included in the list.
Marking India’s 75th Independence Day, the focus was set to achieve Ramsar site recognition for 75 sites. With the inclusion of new Indian wetland sites, the total tally has increased from 64 to 75 now.
The news was shared by the Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav on the microblogging site, Twitter. The TCFS was first proposed by the Maharashtra State Mangrove Cell on July 8, 2021. It was authorised by the Maharashtra Environment and Climate. On February 12, 2022, the suggestion was officially sent to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) by the Maharashtra government.
The TCFS features 12 mangrove species, 39 mangrove associates, 167 species of birds, which also includes flamingos, 45 fish species, 59 species of butterflies, and 67 insect species, including mammals like jackals. As per reports, the TCFS has recorded over one lakh flamingos and has a maximum number of greater flamingos in 2022.
The TCFS is the first site in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and the third in the state to have received the status of Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites). It is surrounded by highly urban areas like Mulund, Vikhroli, Bhandup, and Kanjurmarg.
In Maharashtra, the first Ramsar site was awarded to Nandur Madhameshwar. In the worldwide list, it stands in the 2410th position. On the other hand, in 2020, Lonar lake in Buldhana district was awarded the 41st Ramsar site in India and the second in Maharashtra.
The Ramsar site is an intergovernmental treaty which was put in place by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1971. Named after a city in Iran, the Ramsar site is also known as the Convention on Wetlands. It aids in the identification of wetlands around the world and provides a safe habitat for waterfowl (it has space for 180 different bird species). It helps in saving and protecting these resources.
Recently, six new wetlands in Tamil Nadu have been given the Ramsar site. The sites are Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary in Tirunelveli, Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve in Thoothukudi and Ramanathapuram, Vembannur Wetland Complex in Kanyakumari, Vellode Bird Sanctuary in Erode, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary in Chengalpattu, and Udhayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuaries in Tiruvarur.