Thane Creek is an inlet along the shoreline of the Arabian Sea that isolates the city of Mumbai from the Indian mainland. It is Asia's largest creek with a length of 26 km. The creek is lined up with mangroves on both sides and plays host to a lot of species ranging from iconic flamingos to tiny crabs.
In August 2015, the Maharashtra government, in a notification, declared the northern part of Thane Creek as a flamingo sanctuary. The 1,690 hectares sanctuary includes 896 hectares of mangroves and 794 hectares of the adjacent water body and is located on the western bank, between the Airoli and Vashi bridges that connect Mumbai with Navi Mumbai.
The creek is divided into two parts. The first part lies between Ghodbunder and Thane, a section from where the Ulhas river flows from the north of Mumbai Island to meet the Arabian Sea on the west. The second part of the waterway lies between the city of Thane and the Arabian Sea at Trombay, before the Gharapuri islands.
As per the preliminary study by the department of zoology, Vidya Prasarak Mandal's (VPM’s) B.N. Bandodkar College of Science, Mumbai on the birds of Thane Creek, “The vegetation structure of a mangrove ecosystem and mudflats of Thane Creek are used by waders as shelter belt, foraging, roosting and other purposes during spring migration. Most of the birds have specific habitat requirements from season to season, a loss of which may lead to their local extinction. Past and present researchers stated that the Thane Creek is heavily polluted with wastes from both industrial and domestic sources discharged into the creek through several outlets. Regardless of which, it still supports thousands of birds of 95 species, including the small waders and the flamingos. Flamingos serve to be the major attraction of the creek that has led the forest department to declare certain parts of the creek as flamingo sanctuary.”
Thane Creek in Mumbai is one of the three sites of the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Existing and Potential Coastal and Marine Protected Areas (CMPA) Project in Maharashtra. To disseminate information about Thane Creek’s unique ecosystem, which is the second open space of Mumbai after Malvan in 2016, the documentary film “Jewels of Thane Creek” was created by Mangrove Cell, Maharashtra Forest Department and Indo-German Biodiversity Project on CMPA. The film showcases the rich biodiversity of Thane Creek and its importance for Mumbai, the support that it provides to the local livelihoods, as well as the threats that this fragile ecosystem faces. The Indo-German Biodiversity project on Coastal and Marine Protected Area (CMPA) and Wild Tiger Productions produced the film. The documentary explores the complex interrelationship between various species in the Thane Creek and their impact on us.
The CMPA Project is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), under the International Climate Initiative (IKI). It is implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of BMUB.
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