Chilika Lake in Odisha Records Highest Ever Bird Count

As per the official census, more than 11.42 lakh birds of 190 different species have visited Chilika Lake in Odisha this year, making it the highest ever bird count in a single season. The details of this report were disclosed by the officials on Wednesday.

The census, which was conducted on Tuesday, shows the number of birds has increased as compared to last year. In the previous year, around 11.04 lakh birds had visited the lake, while this year the number soared up to around 11.42 lakh.

“Removal of 160 square kilometres of encroachment in 2018-2019, has resulted in record arrival of annual guests”, said Susanta Nanda, Chief Executive of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA). He said the population of avifauna is the best indicator of the health of a wetland ecosystem.

“Wetland ecosystems are highly resilient and bounce back to normalcy in the shortest possible time. Chilika is a safe haven for the migratory birds,” added Nanda, who is also a wildlife lover.

While 184 bird species flew to the lagoon last year, their number has increased to 190 this time around. Out of the total 190 species of birds, 111 were migratory birds from different countries while 79 were Indian birds.

The Nalabana bird sanctuary within the lagoon saw an increase of 18,000 migratory birds and two new species of migratory ducks – the Falcated teal, and the Mallard that was spotted during the census in Mangalajodi sector, said Kedar Kumar Swain, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Chilika Wildlife Division.

The census was conducted across five ranges including Tangi, Balugaon, Rambha, Satapada, and Chilika, under the Chilika Wildlife Division. About twenty-one teams comprising over 111 wildlife officials, experts, volunteers, and environmentalists were engaged in the exercise which began at 6 AM and concluded at around 12.30 PM. The team included staffers of CDA, experts from Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), and the members of the Pakhi Suraksha Samiti (bird protection group).

Chilika Lake is Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, spread over an area of 1,100 square kilometres across three districts – Puri, Khurda, and Ganjam.

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