Lakhs of migratory birds visit

Deccan Herald , Sunday, January 16, 2005
Correspondent : Staff Reporter
For the first time this year global positioning system was used and assistance of bird experts from abroad was taken to count the avian guests.Bhubaneswar, dhns: Over 9.48 lakh migratory birds from both inside and outside the country visited Orissa’s Chilka lake this year, a recent bird census carried out in the world famous brackish water lagoon, a major winter home for migratory birds in India, has said.

The bird census was jointly conducted last Thursday by the wildlife wing of Orissa government’s forest department, the government-run Chilka Development Authority (CDA) and Bombay Natural History Society.

For the first time this year, global positioning system (GPS) was used in the bird census process. Besides, for the first time too foreign ornithologists had also taken part in the census programme. The bird experts from abroad included four from Russia, two each from Germany and UK and one from Japan.

According to the census, the arrival of migratory birds this winter has recorded nearly an eight per cent increase compared to last year. Last winter, 8.86 lakh migratory birds had made the Orissa lake, considered to be biggest brackish water lagoon in Asia, their winter abode.

As per the census, of the 9.48 lakh winged visitors, 2.36 lakh were seen in the Nalabana bird sanctuary inside the lake. The rest were found in different places like Mangalajodi, Bhusandapur and Sorana.

Ironically, except Nalabana bird sanctuary, other places of bird congregation in and around the lake have not been declared as protected areas yet which provides ample scope to the poachers and bird hunters to kill the migratory birds. Like the previous year, this year too poaching had taken place in the Orissa lake despite steps initiated by different government agencies to halt the bird killings.

However, the state government is planning a second bird sanctuary within the lake with the hope that it will help to check poaching. “Once declared a sanctuary, many of the unprotected bird congregation areas would automatically come under the protection zone”, said a forest department official.

SOURCE : Deccan Herald,Sunday,January 16, 2005

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