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Flamingo flight over Navi Mumbai

Ahead of World Migratory Birds Day, Greens press for Panje, Talawe bird sanctuaries

Destruction of bird destinations could endanger the flights

The activists also asked the government to instruct CIDCO to withdraw the case in Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court order quashing the Talawe golf course project.

NAVI MUMBAI: Environmentalists have appealed to the Maharashtra Government to declare Panje and Talawe wetlands as Bird Sanctuaries as a World Migratory Day gift.

As the UN-led Migratory Bird day is being observed globally on October 10 highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats, environment groups have written to the Chief Minister and the Environment Minister to ensure that the wetlands are protected.

Seawoods based activists also planned a virtual Run for Flamingos coinciding with the day. The registered participants have been asked to run wherever they are, in any part of the world, monitor their run and speed on their heath apps and submit the screen shots. The winners will be declared basis the submissions.

The Day is celebrated on two peak days each year (the second Saturdays of May and October) to highlight the need for international collaboration to ensure the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats globally. It is organized by a collaborative partnership among two UN treaties - the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) - and the Colorado-based no Environment for the Americas (EFTA).

“While the government has long ago accepted in principle to declare Panje wetland as a bird sanctuary, environment  minister Aditya Thackeray asked authorities to look at maintaining Talawe wetland as a Flamingo Sanctuary rather that burying it for a golf course,”  B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation said.

NatConnect has expressed the happiness that Aditya has tweeted his commitment to protect the bio-diversity of Mumbai and reminded him to focus on Panje and Talawe wetlands as well.

The Chief Minister on his part passed on the activists’ requests to the environment department for further action.

“We have requested the government for a quick action since CIDCO has planned to include Panje and other wetlands and mangrove zones as part of the development plan for Dronagiri node in Uran taluka,” Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan, said.

“It is imperative to save the bird destination in the interest of the fishing community as well,” Pawar said.

The activists also asked the government to instruct CIDCO to withdraw the case in Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court order quashing the Talawe golf course project.

Flying into the wetlands here through the Asian Flyway – flying, breeding and stopping – the birds got used to a set pattern and any interference with the wetlands would amount to disturbing them. The drying up of Panje and other wetlands by deliberately blocking tidal water flow rendered the water bodies absolutely dry during the last seasonwhich forced the birds go helter-skelter, the environmentalists said.

BNHS has already warned against the destruction of bird destinations as it could endanger the flights into and out of the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) lead to bird hits, Kumar pointed out.

In view of these, the environmentalists have requested the government to respect the nature, protect biodiversity and declare Panje and Talawe as bird sanctuaries which in turn will protect the migratory birds..

Migratory birds are beneficial to us and the planet's ecosystems because they provide critical services such as seed dispersal, pollination, pest control and more! They are not only vital to sustaining life on Earth, but also provide major economic benefits and jobs through tourism, research and education, and leisure activities such as bird-watching and photography, WMBD website says. They are central to our cultures and have been reflected in our art, music, theatre and belief systems throughout history. Birds inspire us and help us to connect with each other and re-connect with nature.