BHUBANESWAR: Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon Chilika received a record 11.05 lakh migratory birds of 184 species this year, an increase from previous year’s figure of 10.47 lakh birds of 181 species.
The annual bird census, conducted by Chilika Wildlife Division on Sunday, revealed that in spite of cyclone Fani, that left a trail of devastation along Odisha coast on May 3 last year, there has been an increase in the number of migratory birds to the lake by around 58,000.
As per the avian census report, a total 11,05,040 birds of 184 species have congregated at the lagoon this winter. Nalabana island, spread over 15.53 sq km area in the lake, a winter home for migratory birds from the Arctic and Sub-Arctic regions, received the highest number of 4.06 lakh migratory birds of 114 species, sources said.
Apart from Nalabana, the migratory birds are roosting in Deipur, Bhusandpur, Balipatpur, Abhimanpur, Sundarpur, Mangalajodi, Balinasi, Kalupadaghat, Barunapada, Soran, Duchia Rahanabeli, Parikud, Gurubai, Sipakuda, Samalnasi, Badagotha and Tuagambhari.
The day-long enumeration exercise was carried out by 21 teams comprising officials and staff of Chilika Wildlife Division, Chilika Development Authority (CDA), NGOs, volunteers and experts.
CDA officials said rooting out of prawn gheris and other such measures to protect the Chilika eco-system helped in increasing the bird population in the lagoon this winter.
According to CDA Chief Executive Susanta Nanda, 162 sq km area from where the net gheris 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 the presence of a large number of migratory ducks and geese.