- After a long flight of thousands of miles, not often punctuated by breaks, lakhs of migratory birds have made their way to the Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon.
Facts & Figures:
- Major bird congregations have been spotted in the wetlands of the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary inside Chilika and Mangalajodi, a major village on the banks of the lake.
- Nalabana with a 15.59-sq.-km area is hosting the highest number of migratory birds this time round. Similarly, the wetlands of Mangalajodi have begun to fill up with lakhs of ruffs, godwits, plovers, sandpipers and migratory ducks. With 11.59 sq km of mudflats, Mangalajodi receives about 3 lakh birds during winter.
- Migratory birds fly across continents from Caspian Sea, Baikal Lake and remote parts of Russia, Mongolia and Siberia and flock to the marshy lands of the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary inside the Chilika Lake, which is spread across over 1000 sq. km.
- The Odisha government has announced a bird festival for the first time in January, showcasing the diversity of migratory birds and their numbers.
- Chilika Lagoon is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest lagoon in the world after the New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia.
- Asia’s largest brackish water lagoone. It is Asia’s largest salt-water lagoon and is separated from the Bay of Bengal by a sandy ridge.
- It is the largest wintering ground for migratory waterfowl found anywhere on the Indian sub-continent.
- It is one of the hotspot of biodiversity in the country, and some rare, vulnerable and endangered species listed in the IUCN Red List of threatened Animals inhabit in the lagoon for at least part of their life cycle.
- On account of its rich bio-diversity and ecological significance, Chilika was designated as the 1st “Ramsar Site” of India.
- The Nalaban Island within the lagoon is notified as a Bird Sanctuary under Wildlife (Protection) Act, the National Wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs Committee of Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, have also identified the lagoon as a priority site for conservation and management.
Source:TH & Wiki