Suryakant Jena

Khurda: The number of winged species in Chilika Lake, Asia's second largest marine water lagoon has increased this year.

According to latest reports from the ongoing bird census carried out in this biggest waterfowl habitat, the total number of birds recorded this year is 10, 47,968 which is significantly higher than 8, 93,390 recorded last year.

As many as 181 species with 10, 21,563 waterfowl of 105 species and 26,405 water dependent birds of 76 species have been sighted in Chilika this year.

Last year, 147 species comprising 8, 67,834 waterfowl of 95 species and 25,556 water dependent of 52 species had thronged the lake water for breeding and roosting.

Similarly, the bird census in Nalabana sanctuary of Chilika has also showed an increase in the bird count this year.

A total of 3, 93,541 were sighted in the sanctuary as against 3, 20,826 last year.

As many as 21 teams of forest officials, ornithologists, personnel from wildlife organisations, experts and wildlife activists took part in the census.

Forest authorities said that the rise in the number of avian guests is probably due to the eviction of illegal gherries from several parts of the lake.

The lagoon hosts migratory birds every year during the peak winters. Winged species from far off places like the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, remote parts of Russia, Central and South East Asia, Ladakh and the Himalayas descend on Chilika every year during winter and start their homeward journey with the onset of the summer season.