BHUBANESWAR: The bird population of Chilika lagoon this year is expected to break the previous record of 10.47 lakh.
“The avian population in Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon is expected to be in the range of 10.5 lakh to 10.7 lakh this winter,” said Chief Executive of Chilika Development Authority (CDA) Susanta Nanda after the annual monitoring in the lagoon on Friday.
However, the exact number of birds and bird species in the lagoon will be known only after the annual bird census is carried out by Chilika Wildlife Division on Sunday.
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Nalabana water bird sanctuary, spread over 15.53 square km, has one of the largest congregation with around 3.74 lakh birds of 114 species. Of these, 47 are waterfowls while 40 are waders.
Most of these waterfowls breed outside the sub-continent in the Palearctic region and migrate to Chilika during the winter for roosting and feeding.
This apart, the 162 square km area from where the net gheries have been evicted to free the area from any kind of encroachment has become the new congregation place for the birds and dolphins. Areas like Gurubai and Parikuda have turned into prominent bird visiting areas with presence of a large number of migratory ducks and geese.
The CDA Chief Executive, however, said inclement weather hindered the sighting and population estimation of the flagship species of the lagoon - the Irrawaddy dolphins during the annual monitoring.
The annual monitoring of Chilika, to know the status of its flora and fauna and estimate the population range of birds, was taken up by the CDA with the help of 179 persons and CDA staff divided into 29 teams. Officials of Chilika Wildlife Division, members of different boat associations and NGOs and representatives of World Wildlife Fund-India and Bombay Natural History Society. The survey which started in the morning continued till noon.