Thane Creek, GIZ’s Coastal & Marine Protected Areas project site, declared as Wildlife Sanctuary
Thane Creek in Mumbai is one of the three sites of the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Existing and Potential Coastal and Marine Protected Areas (CMPA) Project in Maharashtra. CMPA is a ﬂagship project of GIZ’s Biodiversity Programme supporting the CBD’s Aichi targets.
The Government of Maharashtra (Revenue & Forest Department) issued a notification on 6th August, declaring the northern part of Thane Creek as a Wildlife Sanctuary under Sec. 18 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. This sanctuary, named “Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary” is Maharashtra’s second marine sanctuary, after Malvan. It is spread over an area of 1690 hectares, which includes 896 ha of mangroves and 794 ha of adjacent water body. The ‘Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit’ under the Mangrove Cell will be responsible for the management of the sanctuary.
This declaration of the Thane Creek Sanctuary, located right in the midst of a mega-city, is a significant step for the conservation of this unique natural environment with its eclectic mix of mangroves, mudflats and threatened bird species. The Mangrove Cell has already initiated baseline studies and rapid biodiversity assessment of the Sanctuary area with the support from the CMPA project. These studies would play a key role in the preparation of a scientific management plan for the sanctuary and for its sustainable management. The ecosystem will be closely monitored and shielded from serious threats like discharge of effluents, dumping of sewage and other biotic interferences. At the same time, the scientific community, wildlife enthusiasts and the general public could enjoy access to this natural wonder in a regulated manner. Suitable amenities will be provided for such regulated access to the site, without causing disturbance to the ecosystem.
Besides supporting a large congregation of flamingos, the area is a refuge for several resident and migratory birds. In all, about 200 species of birds have been reported from this area, which include the globally threatened species like the Greater Spotted Eagle (IUCN Category-Vulnerable) and others like Osprey (listed in Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act). Other bird species include the Pied Avocet, Western Reef Heron, Black-headed Ibis, Common Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Brown-headed Gull, Whiskered Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, Little Tern, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Eurasian Marsh Harrier etc. ‘Birdlife International’ has already declared Thane Creek as an Important Bird Area (IBA).
(Source : Press note issued by Mr. N. Vasudevan, Chief Conservator of Forests, Mangrove Cell)