More than 150,000 flamingos have flocked to Mumbai during India's coronavirus lockdown – and now they're painting the waters pink
As people around the world remain sheltered indoors, animals of all shapes and sizes are reclaiming parts of the Earth that have long been rendered less inhabitable by human activity. A herd of goats took over a deserted Welsh town. Wild boars were caught on camera running through the streets of Barcelona. Bears in Yosemite have been noticeably thriving with the national park closed to visitors. And now, a record number of flamingos are painting the waters of Mumbai pink.
While flamingos have been flocking to the Indian metropolis for their feeding and breeding season since the 1980s, the Bombay Natural History Society estimates that there has been a 25% increase in the birds' numbers this year — likely as a result of the country's prolonged coronavirus lockdown.
In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Deepak Apte, the conservation group's director, said, "The lockdown is giving these birds peace for roosting, no disturbance in their attempt to obtain food, and overall encouraging habitat."
In March, India instituted the world's largest coronavirus lockdown, ordering the vast majority of businesses to close and restricting the movement of its 1.3 billion citizens. As a result, the Mumbai metropolitan region — normally the site of much construction, noise and people moving — has been rendered suddenly quiet, inadvertently creating ideal conditions for flamingos looking to forage in the city's wetlands.
While BNHS researchers were obviously unable to conduct field research to count the flamboyance of flamingos in person, they utilized a method of dividing large-scale photographs into grids to estimate the number of birds digitally. In the end, they concluded that more than 150,000 flamingos made Mumbai their home in April, creating a small silver — or rather, pink — lining in these otherwise difficult times.
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