- Migratory birds arriving in Chilika lake this year winters have declined than their usual numbers.
2. About Chilika lake:
- Chilika Lake, Odisha is one of the largest wintering grounds in Asia, where close to one million birds congregate on the mudflats of the lake during winter.
- The Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, spread over 1,000 sq km, is home to 230 bird species, out of which 97 are intercontinental migrants from the Arctic and Eurasian regions.
- The lake has been a designated Ramsar site (a wetland of international importance) since 1981.
3. The arrival of migratory birds is awaited with the onset of winter every year on Chilika lake. This year, however, fewer winged visitors have descended in the lake.
4. One of the reasons behind the low turnout is the flooding after incessant rain triggered by cyclone Titli that hit the Odisha coast in the second week of October.
5. The Winged visitors on Chilika lake are likely to increase once the mudflats below the lake are exposed.
- Migratory birds on Chilika lake:
- Migratory birds fly thousands of miles across continents, from snow-covered Siberia, Caspian Sea, Baikal Lake to remote parts of Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Ladakh, US and Canada, to the marshy lands of Nalabana inside Chilika.
- The major species that can be witnessed are White bellied sea eagles, Graylag geese, purple moorhen, flamingo jacana and herons.
- Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary is also one of biggest breeding places of flamingos in the world.
6. Steps to ensure birds safety:
- The forest officials have taken several steps to ensure the security of birds.
- They have set up 19 camps and formed a mobile squad to oversee the security of birds.
- The mobile squad will keep a tab on poaching and serving of bird meat in various dhabas and hotels.
- Every camp will be equipped with a motorised boat and will be manned by a forester or forest guard and three members of the bird protection committee comprising villagers adjoining the Chilika lake.
- That apart various awareness programmes to sensitize villagers against bird poaching are being conducted.