Almost a month after the Maharashtra forest department began regulating the entry of visitors to the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary (TCFS) from Bhandup Pumping Station (BPS) in Mumbai’s eastern suburbs, the area received more visitors than the Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre (CMBC) at Airoli in November.
This was identified on the basis of revenue collected at Bhandup, which overtook Airoli’s in the first month.
According to the monthly report compiled by the department, Bhandup collected a revenue of Rs105,650 between November 5 and 30. Rs 101,416 revenue was collected at the CMBC from November 1 and 30.
“Bhandup is displaying all features of a birders’ paradise that are being appreciated by visitors. The idea was never to focus on revenue but to regulate and protect this zone, which has now begun. Now we exactly know how many people are going and at the same time nuisance activities [open drinking or unregulated entry] have stopped completely,” said Virendra Tiwari, additional principal chief conservator of forest (Mangrove Cell).
The 11-hectare BPS is a satellite wetland of the flamingo sanctuary.
“The main aim is to concentrate on this part of TCFS with the sole purpose to protect, conserve and create awareness among masses about birds and other biodiversity,” said Tiwari. He added a plan was being prepared on how the area could be further developed.
Stalin D, director, Vanashakti, an NGO, said BPS has the potential to be the best forest tourism spot in Mumbai. “It can showcase the wetland biodiversity like no other place in Thane creek. We are continuously working to improve the ecological and aesthetic value of this zone, which is expected to see a massive facelift over the next six months to a year.”
In August 2016, Maharashtra declared the northern part of Thane creek as a flamingo sanctuary across 1,690 ha.