In 1998, a cyclone struck the Gulf of Kutch. “Bhagashra near Navlakhi was completely red with the corpses of the birds. Flamingos abandoned the place and went elsewhere that year,” Thakker recalls. But all was not lost — that year, a young forest officer called Uday Vora discovered that the flamingos had found a new breeding site in the Little Rann of Kutch, a smaller salt desert further inland from the Great Rann. They have hung on to that new site ever since, and are reportedly also breeding, albeit in smaller numbers, at several other locations in between as well, although experts say none are as large as flamingo city.
But the threats to the avian metropolis remain — the National Board for Wildlife has been discussing the possibility of building a road that will run across the Great Rann, mostly to boost border security in this rough terrain. While the armed forces say the road can be built without disturbing
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