Mumbai: With the onset of winter, flamingo boat rides have resumed along the Vashi-Airoli mangrove stretch. The rides had been stopped during the monsoon season.
The 10 km stretch between Airoli and Vashi along Thane creek sees a large congregation of lesser and greater flamingos every year. The initiative began last year so that citizens can get a closer look at the pink birds during the one-hour ride. “We have started flamingo boat rides, given the arrival of the birds across that stretch. We had received an extremely good response last year and the early bookings for the boat are a positive indication. We have kept the rates the same like last year,” said N.G. Kokare, range forest officer, Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary.
The passenger boats can carry 24 persons and charge `330 per person during weekdays and `430 per person during weekends. The timings of the ride depend on the timings of the low tide.
“The flamingo ride generated a revenue of around `30 lakhs last year in a span of seven months,” said Mr Kokare.
The forest officials said that although the flamingos arrived by November this year, the number is less as compared to the corresponding period last year.
“Greater flamingos can be seen more than lesser flamingos along the stretch during this time. However, overall flamingos are less in number this time as compared to last year. This is due to the consecutive cyclones across the Mumbai and Gujarat region which also delayed monsoon withdrawal this year,” said a senior officer from the Mangrove Cell.
Lesser flamingos are relatively smaller and have a more pink hue than greater flamingos. Lesser flamingos fly over 600 kilometre to Mumbai from Kutch during winter and congregate at the Sewri-Mahul mud flats, Mulund, Seawoods and Bhandup, among other areas.