“August 2015, Northern area of Thane creek is secured as Flamingo Sanctuary under Section 18 of Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. This not so explored highly polluted creek area between Airoli and Navi Mumbai (Vashi) opens door to Naturalists, Wildlife Photographers, Environmental Journalists, Bird Lovers, Nature Lovers and also adds to Flamingo watching locations in Mumbai. A step taken by Revenue and Forest Department of Maharashtra to enhance wildlife education, Eco-Tourism, Science and Research declaring thane creek as flamingo sanctuary with to secure ecology around Mumbai city by saving and conserving Mangroves, Flora Faunas under law and also opens a new natural tourist attraction to public in a systematic way. This creek site is also been selected for Conservation and Sustainable Management (CSM) of Potential and Existing Coastal and Marine Protected Areas (CPMA) with 2 other sites located in Maharashtra by mangroves cell being the Nodal Officer for same.”
The Coastal & Marine Biodiversity Centre
Updates May 2017 : On 1st May (Maharashtra Day), 7000 Square Foot (50 Square Kilometre) measured are which includes “THE COASTAL & MARINE BIODIVERSITY CENTRE” and the thane Airoli creek area (Spread from Thane creek to Sewri) was open to public being part of the PHASE 1 of the much awaited ‘Flamingo Sanctuary’ since 2015. The centre has 2 sections that educates every visitor about value of COASTAL locations (Mangroves and other related) and MARINE area which exhibits wild life and other related like Turtles, Whales, Dolphins and Other fishes, Crabs and more then 500 other species and marine life. The management of this sanctuary will be taken care by MMCU (Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit).
Indoor Attractions : Moving inside this education centre is this hall which has a touch screen enabled Audio Visual display area, educating people about Coastal and Marine life in much interactive audio visuals for faster access and better grasping. A orientation hall for huge groups with big screen display and other interactive media for personal access and real feel. More indoor attraction being a Souvenir Shop and a special Artificial Flamingo section where many real looking flamingo are kept where you can take pictures, selfies and videos for memories to share with friends and social media.
Few Bioscope places, which is fun to watch marine and coastal life getting more information, A special digital flamingo ride (Kind of virtual world feel) a different experience and more on display are 500 pictures of various marine life and a display area showcasing wide green coastal of Thane Airoli Mumbai location.
Outdoor Attractions : After the indoor fun and education, Centre has some special surprises to walk along and get the real feel at the outdoor area of this centre. Of course the main attraction, those 30 thousand beautiful flamingo in group inside thane Airoli creek is what one can see in real from a location. A new of its type special Crab pond and a big area to walk around and feel the creek and mangroves in real. A beautiful mangroves nursery specially designed to understand mangroves from near in real. A real feel and experience of Thane Airoli Creek which was not available this way before.
Good news for students of municipal schools of Mumbai / Maharashtra is that each week 2 schools will be getting free entry inside centre which is a great move by itself.
PHASE 2 : Soon, Phase 2 of this huge Sanctuary at Airoli will bring more of attraction and things of education related to coastal, marine and ecology. MMRDA has supported this project with another 10 crores of funds for Phase 2.
FINE ALERT !! : Kindly note, littering policy has been strictly applied. Multiple CCTV cameras be keeping watch on every visitor for security and cleanliness. Fine up to Rs.2000 can be collected by authorities if found littering in any section (Indoor or Outdoor) of centre and flamingo sanctuary as whole.
Pictures Courtesy : Vinod Pawar.
Entry Location and Address
Ferry service to Flamingo sanctuary’s Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre is available near Airoli Bridge. Ferry charges may be extra.
Reaching Airoli Bridge : From Thane or Mumbai, Head towards Mulund East area on Eastern Express Highway. On highway Junction comes Goregaon Mulund Link Road on one side and Mulund Airoli Road on other which leads to the bridge and entry for flamingo watching centre.
Timings : Exact timings of centre opening and closing will be updated soon. In general morning to evening (10:00 Am to 6:00 Pm).
Entry Fee : From Monday 2nd May 2017, Second day of the sanctuary thrown open to public, Entry fees are applicable as follows :
Adults : Rs.50.
Children / Kids : Rs.25 (Age not mentioned, Legally age under 18 is consider children).
Right Season : Right season to visit flamingo sanctuary is between February End & March beginning till May End (Summer time). The creek water lowers and the mudflat is seen which invites thousands of migratory flamingos just like Sewri. Details about centre opening during other seasons like Monsoon and Winters will be updated soon.
To understand the huge 1691 hectares (16.9 Square Kilometre) circular area with map Coordinates at 19.02 ° N 72.97 ° E, The location falling under declared flamingo sanctuary starts at Thane city east coastal area surrounded by Kopri Colony towards creek, Next comes Mulund East (See Map for Mulund Airoli Road Bridge Crossing this Creek), Then Bhandup East, Kanjurmarg and Vikhroli East, Adjacent to Deonar Dumping Ground with a small flowing river connecting this creek, Ramabai Nagar, Mandala with Jeejabai Bhosle Road Connecting the main road of Sion Panvel Expressway (Airoli Vashi bridge) that goes from borders of Yogayatan ports towards other side of creek which is Navi Mumbai Vashi location. Take a circular turn and a ring route is formed towards Thane (See Map and Picture for reference)
The best way to reach / see the sight of this mudflat from Mumbai city is the Airoli Vashi bridge during low tides between November till Pre Monsoon days. As said this creek is about 17 square kilometre circular area with individual locations like Mulund East covering 1.4 Square Kilometres of Mangroves and Mudflats are, Similarly Vikhroli about 2.5 Square Kilometres, Bhandup East about 0.9 Square Kilometres, Kanjurmarg at 2.64 square kilometres and Mandala about 1.35 Square Kilometre area Totalling the location covered at about half of the main creek area i.e 8.9 (Around 9 square kilometres). Huge Mangroves can be seen along the western side of creek with about 7.9 square kilometre area of main location mudflats where Lesser and Greater Flamingo species are visible during low tides migration period. Kindly note that the above mentioned figures are approximate / rounded just to understand the location width / diameter area. According to the study by Mangrove cell department, the total area covered by Mangroves (in Square Kilometre) in Mumbai is 2, Suburban locations is 43 and Thane district is 53.
Creek Location Map (Powered by Google)
Flamingo Sanctuary Mudflats and Attractions
This recently declared Flamingo sanctuary mudflat area around thane creek will be taken care by MMCU Mangrove cell (Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit) who will guard and manage complete area that covers many other species of Migratory birds, Large Mudflats and life saving Mangroves belt. Best time / Season to visit this sanctuary which last about 6 to 7 months long starts during winters in November till end of Summer season / pre monsoon (i.e May) with large groups of Flamingo birds and other 200 species of migratory birds (Including Rare Species) in groups of thousands from around India that occupies these mudflats.
It is said that about 20,000 to 30,000 falmingo, Major lesser breeds (Phoeniconaias minor) and low in number of greater breeds (Phoenicopterus roseus) makes a beautiful view that always attracts locals and now to tourists to capture natures beautiful long neck bird along with widely spread mudflats and dense mangroves around at Sunrise and Sunset time that gives the best pictures and videos of this scenic location. Just like Sewri mudflats, this creek of thane attracts flamingoes in such a large numbers which are said to be coming from Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch and Middle East as per bird lovers, environmentalists and naturalists of Mumbai. Winters is a season of migrating, mating and breeding for this birds which comes flying thousands of kilometres and lands at various such locations in Mumbai.
Some of the best educators at BNHS CEC and other active Naturalists like Sunjoy Monga who are masters in spotting rare species of birds also have seen some rare species like Osprey and Greater Spotted Eagles (Aquila clanga) and Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) among other 200 species of migratory birds at Sewri and Thane creeks. To list some of them are Night Heron, Black Headed Ibis, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Greenshank (Also called Tringa guttifer), Oriental Stork, Caspian Tern and lots more. You might also like to read more about Bird Watching locations article. Bird lovers must also know about the annual bird race happening in Mumbai city.