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Odisha’s Chilika Lake records its highest count with 11.42 lakh of migratory birds


The bird population in Odisha’s Chilika Lake has reached its highest level in the past two decades and officials estimated around 11.4 lakh of birds during the annual bird census of the country’s largest coastal lagoon.

Chilika Development Authority Executive Director Susanta Nanda said the annual bird count of Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon on Tuesday revealed a record 11.42 lakh presence of migratory birds of 190 species. The annual census of birds in the lagoon was carried out in five ranges under the Chilika Wildlife Division. Up to 21 teams consisting of 111 wildlife officials, experts and environmentalists were deployed to Satpada in Puri, Rambha in Ganjam and Balugaon and Tangi districts of Khurda to carry out the migratory bird counting exercise.

Nanda said that last year, the number of birds was estimated at around 11.04 lakh. In 2019, 10.47 lakh of birds were counted in the lagoon which is among the most astonishing biodiversity hotspots in the world.

“Wetland ecosystems are very resistant and recover to normal in the shortest possible time. The removal of 160 square kilometers of invasion in 2018-19 has resulted in a record arrival of birds. The bird population is the best indicator of the health of a wetland ecosystem. Thanks to all the staff involved in making Chilika a safe haven for migratory birds, ”he said.

Covering an area of ​​approximately 1,100 square kilometers, the lagoon is the largest wintering area for migratory birds in India. It welcomes numerous endangered bird species each winter season. The lagoon is home to birds from as far away as Russia, Mongolia, Central and Southeast Asia, and the Himalayas, who flock to the lagoon during the migratory season.

Hindustan Times