• Wednesday, June 12, 2024


30 flamingos die after being hit by aircraft in Mumbai

The wetlands along Mumbai’s coast are famous for large number of flamingos who arrive around December for a few months

Picture for representation only. (iStock)

By: Shajil Kumar

A PASSENGER airplane arriving in Mumbai flew through a flock of flamingos, killing at least 30, before landing at the airport on Monday night.

So far, carcasses of 32 flamingos have been recovered from the Ghatkopar area, a police official said.

Pawan Sharma, from the Mumbai-based Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW), said the animal charity received multiple calls as the carcasses of the pink birds fell from the sky.

The forest department along with the RAWW teams carried out a search operation for the dead flamingos on Monday night.

The carcasses were sent for an autopsy and would later be disposed of as per the protocols, Sharma said.

Mumbai airport recorded over 600 cases of aircraft bird strikes from January 2018 till October 2023, according to government statistics.

But Sharma said that it was unusual for so many flamingos to have been killed in a single event.

“This is the first time such a large number of flamingos have been hit,” Sharma told AFP.

He said he feared many more could have died as some of the bird carcasses were “not in a shape to be recovered”.

“The locality was littered with bird carcass,” said B.N. Kumar, from the environmental group NatConnect Foundation.

“Broken pieces of wings, beaks, claws were scattered over a large area”.

Kumar said he had sent an email to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) seeking a probe to ascertain how the Emirates aircraft hit the birds.

The wetlands along Mumbai’s coast are famous for a large number of flamingos who arrive around December for a few months.

“Both resident and migratory birds are at threat from flights passing through such crucial habitats,” Sharma added.

“Therefore it is important to evaluate this incident and work on mitigation measures so that such unfortunate incidents can be avoided.”

Environment groups have been conducting campaigns to save Mumbai’s biodiversity, wetlands, and mangroves.

They have warned that the upcoming international airport in Navi Mumbai could lead to more such incidents due to its proximity to the wetlands. (Agencies)

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