The total bird population of Chilika lagoon will be in the range of 10.5 lakhs to 10.7 lakhs and compares favorably with the population of last year, the Chilika Development Authority claimed on Friday.
However, the exact number along with different species will be provided by the Wildlife wing, after detailed census being planned by Chilika Wildlife Division in the near future, it said.
Nalabana water bird sanctuary notified during 1987, spread over 15.53 sq. kms has one of the largest congregation with 3,74,752 birds of 114 species. Off these 74 are water fowls and 40 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.
The evicted areas from the net gharries, to the tune of 162 SQ.KM have not been reconstructed and remains free.
These areas have become the new place of congregation for the birds and the dolphin population. Areas such as Gurubai and Parikuda etc have become Important Bird Areas (IBA) with presence of large number of migratory ducks and geese.
The CDA said dolphins are colonizing new areas which have become 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, it said adding, 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 estimatedat a future date.
The population of waders was 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’.
However, the Chilika Development Authority hopes that it will recover in due course of time and will be suitable for the waders to feed on, an official said.
The CDA has complimented all the members and different boats association for helping in the annual monitoring.
Notably, the annual monitoring of Chilika lagoon to know the status of flora and fauna and also to estimate the population range of birds in particular, was taken-up by Chilika Development Authority (CDA) with the help of 175 personnel’s 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 survey was carried out from the morning of January 3 till noon.
However, the inclement weather hindered the sighting and population estimation of the flag species of Chilika- Irrawaddy dolphin. The important bird areas (IBA), which holds significant numbers of one or more globally threaten bird species or having exceptionally large number of migratory birds) were mapped out earlier to facilitate counting of birds along with their numbers at Nalabana Sanctuary