Patrolling intensified in Chilika in new year

Berhampur: Patrolling has been intensified in and around Chilika Lake of Odisha to prevent killing of birds in the new year here which is home to millions of winged guests in winter.

Demand for non-vegetarian items like meat, chicken, egg and fish are high on New Year’s day today and there is a possibility of poaching of birds in the Chilika on the occasion to meet the demand in nearby town, officials said.

“Patrolling has been intensified in the lake to prevent poaching in the lagoon in view of New Year celebrations,” divisional forest officer, Chilika wildlife, Bikash Ranjan Das, said.

While at least 17 camps were set up in the lake with deployment of over 90 personnel, police personnel were assisting them in Tangi wildlife range, he said.

Tangi wildlife range is considered vulnerable to bird poaching as the wildlife officials registered 12 cases and arrested 13 poachers during this winter. In entire Chilika division, they had registered 13 cases, arrested 15 persons and seized over 78 dead birds, officials said.

More emphasis was given in Mangalajodi, Sorana and Nalabana, identified as the vulnerable areas for poaching, sources said. “The wildlife personnel have also kept strict vigil on the movement and activities of the habitual wildlife offenders in the area,” the DFO said.

An estimated 7 to 8 lakh winged visitors have already descended in the entire lake so far. Majority of them congregated in 16.59-sq km Nalabana bird sanctuary area, officials said. The exact number of birds coming to the lagoon would be known only after the annual bird census which is to be held shortly, they said.

The birds, mostly from beyond the Himalayas in the Northern Eurasia, Caspian region, Siberia, Kazakh, Lake Baikal and the remote areas of Russia and neighbouring countries, visit the Chilika every winter and start their homeward journey before onset of summer.