Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rajnagar (Kendrapara), Jan 16:
The number of migratory birds has registered a significant rise in the Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha’s Kendrapara district as per the bird census, conducted by forest which concluded on January 12 this year.
As against 68,514 birds counted last year, the number has gone up to 1,13,226 this year. We also have seen many new species never seen here before,” said DFO of Rajnagar Wildlife Division, Kedar Kumar Swain.
He said a total of 16 teams of forest staff, who had conducted the bird count, noticed the 44,712 more birds this year as compared to previous year.
A total of 119 species of birds of foreign origin were noticed this year including some rare species such as Black Kingfisher, Northern Pintail Duck, Bird Tail, Asian Openbill, Night Heron, Cormorant, Drongo etc.
Besides, over 50,000 birds have chosen Satabhaya as their home this season, the DFO said
These birds travel thousands of miles from places as far as Malaysia, Central Asia, Siberia, USA, Srilanka, Pakistan, Japan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh etc to visit the warm water lakes of the state such as Chilka, Bhitarkanika, Satbhaya etc.
Apart from the forest staff, ornithologists Gaheer Aberin, Suvendu Bhattacharya, Shakiti Nanda, Biswajit Mohanty, Umakant Biswal and experts from Bombay Natural Institute such as Gagoi Maran and Abhishek etc joined the teams in the bird count.
It may be noted that the crocodile population in the Park has also gone up to 1,665, the annual census revealed Thursday. This is 21 more than last year’s 1,644.
Bhitarkanika is famous as world’s largest rookery of Olive Ridley sea turtles. It also is home to thousands of migratory birds and large crocodile population.
The park, famous for its mangrove forests, found a mention in the Guinness World Records in 2006 for a 23-foot saltwater crocodile listed as the largest in the world.