More Flamingos Are Flocking to Mumbai Than Ever Before. The Reason Could be Sewage There is an almost three-fold increase in the flamingo population in Mumbai, India. Rahul Khot, assistant director at the Bombay Natural History Society, tells NPR his speculations as to why.
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More Flamingos Are Flocking to Mumbai Than Ever Before. The Reason Could be Sewage

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More Flamingos Are Flocking to Mumbai Than Ever Before. The Reason Could be Sewage

More Flamingos Are Flocking to Mumbai Than Ever Before. The Reason Could be Sewage

More Flamingos Are Flocking to Mumbai Than Ever Before. The Reason Could be Sewage

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/708599552/708599749" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Flamingos flock to Mumbai between September and April, but this year there are almost three times more birds than the amount that usually flocks to the area. Bachchan Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images hide caption

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Bachchan Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Flamingos flock to Mumbai between September and April, but this year there are almost three times more birds than the amount that usually flocks to the area.

Bachchan Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Around this time every year, tens of thousands of flamingos flock to Mumbai to feed. But this year, there are almost three times more than the normal amount in the city — about 120,000.

The reason for the influx is currently a mystery. But some scientists believe that pollution in the birds' natural habitat might be one factor at play.

As The Guardian reports, one of the best places to see large flocks of flamingos in Mumbai is near a water treatment plant alongside the city's Thane Creek. Now, an increase in sewage output and industrial runoff into the creek is thought by some to be fueling an uptick in the blue-green algae that the birds feed on.

"The scene in the Thane Creek when they are wading in the water is amazing," Rahul Khot, assistant director of the Bombay Natural History Society, says in an interview with NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday.

Khot and his team aren't convinced quite yet that sewage output and industrial runoff is why the flamingo population has spiked this year, but they welcome the attention the flamingos of Mumbai are getting right now.

"It's really good to see large number of birds visiting this metrocity, but that also adds to our responsibility to conserve their habitat so that incoming future coming generation will also enjoy this bird," Khot says.

NPR's Audrey Nguyen and Sarah Oliver produced and edited this story for broadcast.