When it comes to looking for a wildlife experience, we often think of dense forests or deep oceans, far removed from the cities we dwell in, forgetting the constantly adapting wildlife that exists in urban spaces as we continue to encroach on their natural habitats. For instance, the life around coasts and rivers. Over the past few years, some initiatives have sought to build awareness about this through shore walks and more. Marine life enthusiasts are participating in walks to explore and learn more about what lives between the folds of blue
The annual Coastwise Marine Festival is an effort to generate more awareness about coastal ecosystems and habitats around Mumbai and Vizag.
The fourth edition of the flagship marine festival will be held through February to shine the spotlight on lesser-known ecosystems. The Mangrove Cell, Maharashtra Forest Department has collaborated with Coastal Conservation Foundation and WWF-India to bring out this unique festival that celebrates coastal biodiversity. From exploring shores and mangroves on foot and in boats to creative workshops and film screenings, there’s something for everyone to engage with the marine spaces around us. The events are being held around Mumbai and Vishakhapatnam. For details about tickets, you can check the website here. Here's a look at some of the events.
Five kilometers away from Virar railway station lies Mumbai's first mangrove ecotourism village. Visitors can enjoy a boat ride through the mangroves, followed by a walk at the Mangrove and Marine Biodiversity Information Centre in Marambalpada.
When: February 18, 9am to 11am
Where: Virar West, Virar
If you’ve ever been curious about taking photos of tidepool creatures, this workshop is for you. Sarang Naik has taken some of the most iconic photos of the Mumbai intertidal. He specialises in creative nature and urban wildlife photography and has spent the last six years photographing the incredible wildlife found on Mumbai’s shores. He was recently awarded the prestigious Ocean Storytelling Grant by the Save Our Seas Foundation. This workshop will have two sessions - one indoor and the other on the field. Sarang will cover the following topics: The intertidal habitat and its photographic opportunities, a session on equipment, an introduction to cameras, lenses, and functional accessories, composition techniques, understanding light, and more.
When: February 9-10, 11am
Where: Byculla, Mumbai
Take a walk along our city’s rich mangrove ecosystem at the Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre in Airoli. Enjoy a boat ride through a beautiful waterscape, which hosts different species of mangroves and a variety of avian life, including flamingos, gulls, terns and many different types of waders. Cap the day with an art workshop with Sefi George that explores mangroves and all they host. A full-day pass includes a mangrove walk, a flamingo boat ride, a marine art workshop, lunch, and a guided visit to the centre.
When: February 17, 11:30am
Where: Airoli, Navi Mumbai
Sign up for a curated shore walk that will introduce you to a side of our coasts that you’ve probably never seen before. You will explore shores where you can experience different landscapes with varying amounts of human intervention. While some are polluted and populated, some are tourist hotspots. And yet, wildlife thrives at all of them. Take your pick and book your place.
When: February 11, 4:30pm