Cassian Baliarsingh

The annual census of birds in the world-famous backwaters of Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha’s Kendrapara district began early Friday morning.

The head counting exercise began at around 5:30 AM in the morning and will continue till 1:30 PM in the noon, reports said. As many as 17 teams have been deployed for the counting of the migratory birds in the National Park.

The annual census is underway at five ranges of the National Park. The counting teams are expected to conduct the census at Raipatia, Satabhayagheri, Satabhaya Bisarna Adrabhumi, Jambhu, Batighara, Barunei Muhana, Praharajpur, Kansaripatia, Khola, Naliapatia, Durgapuramuhana and other nearby areas of the national park.

The teams have been well equipped with boats, radios (walkie-talkie), binoculars, cameras and GPS scales for the annual counting. 

On the other hand, the Bhitarkanika National Park will remain closed for 11 days beginning January 4 for crocodile census also. The national park has shut its doors (from January 4) till January 14. 

Teams have also been deployed for the crocodile census. The authorities have closed the park as part of their measures to ensure a smooth and human interference-free census survey. 

Rajnagar Divisional forest officer-in-charge, Adhar Kumar Behera said, “The census began at around 5:30 AM in the morning and will continue will 1:30 PM. 

"We are hopeful that the census programme will be successful and there is a rise in the number of winged guests in the national park this year.”

“There are at least 17 teams comprising of 4-6 members each. They have been given all the technical training and hope the census brings good news for bird and nature lovers,” he added.