Odishatv Bureau

Tangi: Bird census in Chilika lake this year has revealed that the number migratory birds in the lake has substantially gone up this year.

Of the 176 species of migratory birds which have thronged the largest brackish water lake in Asia this year, three news species have been located in Mangalajodi area.

Talking to media persons, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Chilika Wildlife Division said the number of the migratory birds which was 8,58,855 last year, has gone up by 88,264 this year with the arrival of 9,47,119 birds.

“We had gone to different pockets in the lake are and found that the number of migratory birds as compared to last year has gone up proportionately this year. We hope that the number of these winged guests would go up further in the coming days if there would be less human intervention”, Sanjay Kumar Rout, BDO, Jatni and one of the census team members told media persons.

“We found falcons (also known as raptors) and The Great Crested Grebe which have visited the lake for the first time. Besides, we found other migratory bird species like the Red Crested Pochard, Marsh Harrier and Pallid Harrier. We also found different species of Gulls including Pallas’s Gull which are generally found along the sea coast,” Rout added.

Pramod Dhal, superintendent of Central Excise and Customs, and a member of the bird census team, said out of nearly 300 bird species sighted in Odisha, he had noticed The Great Crested Grebe, a migratory bird species of Europe, during the bird census this year, for the first time.

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Sources in the Forest department said 20 teams have been engaged in the bird census in the 11,000 sq km area of the lake. Members of Bombay Natural History Society, Odisha University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT), Chilika Development Authority (CDA) and more than 100 staff of State Wildlife Division have been engaged in the bird census in the lake periphery in Tangi, Balugan, Rambha, Chilika and Satapada areas.

Ashok Kumar Das, Ranger of Tangi Wildlife Division, said the forest department has engaged four Forest staff, NGO members and honorary wildlife wardens in each team.

This year, country boats are being used for bird census.