The second phase of the first of its kind bird nest survey was carried out between Friday to Monday before initiating tree transplantation to make way for two Metro lines at Thane saw the removal of 131 nests from 107 trees between Friday and Monday. The project is a joint survey conducted on foot of around 565 trees by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the Maharashtra forest department and animal rescue group Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW)
Environmentalists have demanded that such surveys should be carried out before every project that needs to displace trees.
Total 131 of 132 nests were found between Friday and Monday were found vacant (without eggs or abandoned by birds) and were removed, while one nest with young ones in them was left untouched by the surveyors near Mogharpada in Thane (west) along the Metro 4A line.
This is the second time such a survey is being done for Metro line 4 (Wadala to Kasarvadavali stretch that includes 11 stations in Thane), and for the first time for Metro line 4A (part of the Metro 4 extension Kasarvadavali-Gaimukh). During the first survey during January and February, 160 bird nests were safely removed from 128 trees over three days along the Metro 4 route.
Joint commissioner, MMRDA B G Pawar, said, that it has been decided that transplanting of trees with eggs/young ones on it would be put on hold until the birds grow older. “The survey is being carried out to ensure that we do not disrupt the normal habitat of these birds due to the ongoing metro construction work, and we are also ensuring minimal destruction of trees during construction. We believe in development while embracing nature, we put maximum efforts to ensure minimal disruption to environment.”
Even as the survey has been carried out to ensure natural habitats of the birds in the area is not disrupted, environmentalists have pointed out that the metro construction has led to reduction is nesting activities in the area enroute Metro 4 and 4A.
"One of the reasons of less active nesting can be due to the ongoing Metro construction work and human presence on the stretch after which the existing batches of birds must have changed their nesting location and new ones not nesting due to the noise from construction activity," said Pawan Sharma, founder of Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW).
Sharma added, "Development and humane approach can go hand in hand if genuine efforts are taken, the future will surely see a positive impact from such initiatives. Such surveys should be part of SoPs before any construction projects needing relocation/transplantation of trees is started. The transplantation of trees which have active nesting have been put on hold and will be replanted or relocated only after the young ones are independent and leave the nests. Around 80 percent of the survey is done and 90 percent of nests were vacant/ abandoned thus removed following the provisions of the Biodiversity and Wildlife laws."
Birds sighted during the survey included Kite, Parakeet, Crow, Myna, Pigeon, Munia, Kingfisher, Sparrow etc.
The total survey will be done by the end of this week after which trees with no active nesting will be ready to be relocated/ replanted.
"These initiatives are very important and they may not give expected results in the beginning but will help us in the future,"
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