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Issue 20
, 2009
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Missing migratory birds worry environmentalists

Source: Hindustan Times, Mumbai, Date: , 2009

Amateur nature photographer Kunal Deshpande was taken by surprise when he compared a photograph of the Sewri mudflat taken a week ago to a two-year-old picture on his computer screen. "There are too many gaps in the canvas. The flamingos are fewer in number," said the 27-year-old. Deshpande's observation is not a figment of imagination. The number of the migratory birds visiting the city during winters has been dropping steadily, say environmentalists. According to data collected by the Conservation Action Trust (CAT) a city-based non-governmental organisation, flamingos visiting the city have dropped from 25,000 to 10,000 in the past two years. The larger concern is that changing weather patterns could be a major reason behind the trend, though no study so far has established that conclusively. "The changing weather may have affected their mass migration patterns. Scattered flocks are seen at different sites," said environmentalist Debi Goenka also the director of CAT. Nikhil Bhopale from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) concurs, "Erratic rainfall patterns in the Rann of Kutch (Gujarat) has been influencing the migration of flamingos."* *Experts also feel that the trend could lead to larger ecological impacts. "Disappear-ing bird species cause gaps in the food chain," added Bhopale.