State may soon approve study of lesser flamingos

The proposal by Bombay Natural History Society is awaiting the final nod from the Forest Minister to study the migration system of the birds

As a first-of-its-kind exercise in the state, the forest department is expected to soon give its go ahead to the study of migration system of lesser flamingos, the smallest species of the bird, and a regular visitor to mudflats in Sewri-Mahul areas and Thane creek.

Where do you fly to? The study will involve capturing birds and attaching to their bodies a transmitter, which will provide information on their migration patterns. PIC/THINKSTOCK

The study will be carried out by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), after they receive mandatory approval from the state, as the migratory birds fall under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

The BNHS had submitted the proposal last year to study 5,000 birds under Schedule II and IV of the Act. While the principal chief conservator of the state has approved the plan, it requires a final nod from Forest Minister Dr Patangrao Kadam. However, sources from the department revealed that Kadam understands the importance of the project and the approval is a mere formality.

As a part of the project, the BNHS, under the supervision of forest department officials, will capture the birds and attach a small platform transmitter terminal (PTT), a process known as ringing or banding, and will release them. The organisation is willing to carry out the exercise for three years, in which 5,000 birds of different species will be captured for ringing.

Sources claim that while the principal chief forest conservator has approved the capturing of 15,000 birds, the state is taking a conservative stand and has asked the BNHS to cover 500 birds as pilot, in order to evaluate how carefully the exercise is carried out by them. The government has also asked officials to ensure that the project should not involve any commercial activity, and precautions should be taken while handling the birds.

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