Dinosaur replica at bird habitat in Chilika to be dismantled

Bhubaneswar: Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) has decided to dismantle a replica dinosaur for a Jurassic Park planned at Chadheihaga Island, a bird habitat on the Chilika lake, following objection from environmentalists.

33 other replica dinosaurs were planned to be installed on the island, a habitat for residential and migratory birds and home to a wide variety of wild plants and butterflies, a senior tourism official said.

He said that the dinosaurs made of fibre would not harm the ecology and have been used in several parks in other states.

Environmentalists, bird lovers and wildlife activists, however, strongly objected to the plan to install the replicas and have asked for dismantling the existing one.

"Our demand is to scrap construction of any kind on the island. The entire Chilika area should not face any human interference being a bird habitat," Biswajit Mohanty, Secretary of Wildlife Society of Odisha, said.

Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), a collective of animal protection organisations in India, said the erection of the fibre dinosaurs would require labour and machinery which would disturb migratory birds.

A FIAPO spokesman also said the lake and its surrounding areas were considered to be the largest wintering ground for migratory birds, with many listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's 'Red List' of threatened species.

FIAPO wrote to the OTDC, urging reconsideration of its plan in view of the ecological importance and vulnerability of the proposed location and focus instead on protecting the ecology of the site, which was visited by thousands of migratory birds every year, the spokesman said.

Following the objections, Chairman and Managing Director of OTDC Ashok Tripathy told PTI, "A proposal was mooted about five years ago to put up fibre dinosaur replicas at Chadhehaga island, but only one was installed."

It was decided to remove the sole fibre dinosaur on the island as part of OTDC's plans to attract tourists, he said.

The lone dinosaur would be dismantled and installed near a panth nivas being operated by the OTDC near the Chilika lake, Tripathy said.

The organisation has now decided to construct a nature trail to attract tourists to the eco-sensitive island.

Tripathy said, "OTDC has planned to construct a nature trail on the island, which has rocky terrain, to make it more tourist-friendly".