Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 10:
The day-long headcount exercise of winged guests at Chilika and Anshupa Lake in Odisha was conducted today.
The wildlife wing of the Forest department embarked on the annual bird census at Asia’s largest brackish water lake in Chilika and the largest fresh water lake at Anshupa in Cuttack district.
Around 100 trained people were engaged in the exercise which covered an area of 1100 sq km from Nalabana to Mangalajodi in the lagoon divided into five ranges. The participants fanned out in as many as 20 teams comprising of research scholars and bird lovers of the state. The teams were accompanied by experts from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Chilika Development Authority (CDA) and Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT).
“As many as 186 species of birds including three new species of migratory birds have been spotted this year. We expect the number of avian guests to be almost same as last year,” a forest official said.
The wildlife experts, however, apprehend that the attendance of the winged guests is likely to fall this year due to late onset of winter and drastic change in weather conditions.
“The Chilika Lake has been divided into five ranges. There are 20 teams having six members each in a team having two forest officials and three experts in each unit. The census would end today,” said Ashok Kumar Das, Forest Range Officer, Tangi Range.
Besides Chilika, enumeration is also being conducted at Anshupa and 13 other places under the Athagarh sub-division area in Cuttack district. Notably, the census was being conducted with direct sighting and binocular method.
According to official data, around 7.19 lakh birds in 2014 and over 7.61 lakh migratory birds in 2015 had visited the Chilika Lake.
Every year, the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) and the wildlife wing of the Forest department conduct this annual status survey of avian population in Chilika Lake.