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First, thousands of flamingos were seen at Navi Mumbai’s Talawe wetland and now a part of the water body has changed colours. Keep reading to find out how this wetland turned into a gorgeous shade of deep pink last week. By Upasana Singh
During the nationwide lockdown, nature’s wonders continue to take us by surprise. Last month, thousands of pink flamingoes were spotted at the Talawe wetland, Nerul in Navi Mumbai, due to lack of human activity. More recently, environmentalists and local residents noticed that a section of the wetland has turned into a hue of pink.
A part of the wetland has changed its colour probably due to an explosive blooming of red algae that grows in saline water, especially during the summer months. Located towards the south-eastern end of the wetland, the pink waters were seen last week. Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) plans to take samples of the water as the bloom has been identified as rare and first-of-its-kind in Mumbai’s Metropolitan Region. Independent microbiologists and BNHS think that microscopic algae are responsible for the new colour.
As reported by Hindustan Times, Deepak Apte, Director, BNHS said, “Around the world, such a phenomenon has been observed regularly with red algae but it has to be investigated how it has appeared along the Mumbai creek.” Apte added that pink flamingos feed on this alga as well as crustaceans, shrimp, and aquatic plants, which gives them their unique colour. The migratory birds also feed on zooplankton that in turn feeds on the algae.
Researchers have observed similar phenomena in other regions of the country as well. The algal bloom has been seen during early winter months at the northern point of Chilika Lake in Odisha, and towards the northern end of wetlands in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu. This is a temporary occurrence as the water turns back to its usual colour in small patches within 48-72 hours.
However, residents from Seawoods, an NRI Complex situated near Talawe wetland, stated that this is not the first time such an event has occurred. A pink wash across a much larger area at the same creek was seen in 2016.
Activist Sandeep Bangia of the Navi Mumbai Environment Preservation Society said that the pink colouration at Talawe wetland was spotted last year during summer when most of the water dries up. This was observed by many local residents too. Conservationists and environmentalists have been fighting to protect and preserve the beautiful, bird-rich wetland for a long time.