Bhubaneswar : An estimated 10.5 lakhs to 10.7 lakhs bird population was spotted in Chilika lagoon as per the survey conducted by the Chilika Development Authority(CDA) on Friday.
The annual monitoring of the Chilika lagoon was conducted from morning till noon to know the status of flora and fauna and also to estimate the population range of birds in particular.
The monitoring was carried out with the help of 175 personnel in 29 teams comprising of officials of CDA, staff from Chilika Wildlife Division, members of different boats association, members of NGOs along with WWF-India representative of Odisha and BNHS.
The inclement weather however, hindered the sighting and population estimation of the flag species of Chilika- Irrawaddy dolphin. The important bird areas, (IBA) were mapped out earlier to facilitate counting of birds along with their numbers at Nalabana Sanctuary.
Nalabana water bird sanctuary notified during 1987, spread over 15.53 sq. km has one of the largest congregation with 3,74,752 birds of 114 species of which 74 are water fowls and 40 are waders.
Most of these water fowls breed outside the sub-continent in the palearctic region and migrates to Chilika lagoon during the winter for roosting and feeding. CDA sources here said the exact number of birds along with different species will be provided by the Wildlife wing, after detailed census being planned by Chilika Wildlife Division in the near future.
The population of birds in Chilika lagoon was 9.04 lakhs in 2010 , 7.91 lakhs in 2011, 8.68 lakh in 2012, 8.62 lakh in 2013, 7.07 lakh in 2014, 7.46 in 2015, 7.5 lakh in 2016, 9.24 lakh in 2017, 8.67 lakh in 2018 and 10.47 lakh in 2019.
The evicted areas from the net gharries, to the tune of 162 sq.kms is not reconstructed and remains free. These areas have become the new place of congregation for the birds and the dolphin population.
Areas like Gurubai and Parikuda have become Important Bird Areas (IBA) with presence of large number of migratory ducks and geese. Dolphins are colonizing new areas, free from encroachments. Few families have migrated from Outer channel to Central and Southern sector.
Their exact area of colonization has been monitored and mapped with the help of hydrophones. The direct sighting of dolphins by the survey team was difficult at many places due to inclement weather and its exact range of population will be estimated at a future date, CDA sources said.
The population of waders were observed to be less compared to previous years, as they are dependent on mudflats which are dynamic in nature and was affected by the storm surge during the cyclone ‘FANI’. It will recover in due course of time and will be suitable for the waders to feed on, the survey said.