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Over 1 million migratory birds to flock to Chilika this year too

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The area saw such numbers for the first time in 2019; dolphins colonising new areas

The Chilika Development Authority (CDA) said it expects the number of migratory birds flocking to Chilika to cross the one-million mark for the second consecutive year in 2020.

“The total bird population of Chilika lagoon will be around 10.5 lakh-10.7 lakh. This compares favourably with the population of last year. The exact number, along with different species, will be provided by the wildlife wing after a detailed census that is being planned by the Chilika Wildlife Division in the near future,” the CDA, which conducted a surevy of flora and fauna of the lake, said earlier this week.

The migratory bird population in Chilika had crossed the one-million mark for the first time in 2019.

“Due to inclement weather, we could sight 20-30% of birds, which usually flock to the lake during this time. We hope it will cross the one-million mark for the second consecutive year,” said Susanta Nanda, Chief Executive of the CDA.

The Nalabana Bird Sanctuary was notified in 1987.

It has one of the largest congregations with 3,74,752 birds of 114 species, including water fowls.

Most of these water fowls breed outside the subcontinent in the Palearctic region and migrate to Chilika lagoon during the winter for roosting and feeding.

Encroachments removed

Authorities have found birds perching in areas that were recently made encroachment-free.

From an area of about 162 sq. km, enclosures used for prawn culture were uprooted and no new encroachment have been noticed, they added.

“These areas have become the new place of congregation for the birds and the dolphin population. Areas like Gurubai and Parikuda have become Important Bird Areas with presence of large number of migratory ducks and geese,” said Mr. Nanda.

It was also noticed that endangered Irrawaddy dolphins were colonising new areas free from encroachments. “Few families have migrated from outer channel to central and southern sectors,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 5:32:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/over-1-million-migratory-birds-to-flock-to-chilika-this-year-too/article30483515.ece

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