Bhubaneswar, Dec 7 (LocalWire) Poaching of migratory birds is on the rise at Odisha’s Chilika Lake.
At least six bird poachers have been arrested by wildlife personnel in the lake within a month, while five cases have been registered at Tangi range so far. As many as 40 dead birds of different species have been seized from the poachers.
The birds, mostly from beyond the Himalayas, Northern Eurasia, Caspian region, Siberia, Kazakh, Lake Baikal and the remote areas of Russia and neighboring countries, visit the Chilika every winter and start their homeward journey before onset of summer.
Here are 10 interesting facts about Chilika Lake:
1. The brackish water lagoon is spread over an area of over 1100 sq km across Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts at the mouth of the Daya River and flows into the Bay of Bengal.
2. Chilika Lake is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest coastal lagoon in the world; the first being The New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia in the South Pacific Ocean.
3. It is the largest winter hub of migratory birds in India, where over 160 species of birds fly in from far off places like the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea, Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, Central and South-East Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas.
4. A number of rare and threatened species of plants and animals are found at Chilika.
5. It is very rich in fishery resources, providing for over 1.5 lakh fishermen in 132 coastal villages.
6. Chilika Lake was listed in Ramsar Convention’s Wetlands of International Importance in 1981.
7. There are evidences by several geologists that trace Chilika as a part of the Bay of Bengal during the Pleistocene period.
8. Chilika has its reference in ancient texts as well, where it was considered as one of the major harbours for maritime trade in Kalinga (ancient Odisha).
9. Recently, Chilika is facing several ecological treats including, poaching of migratory birds, sedimentation and shrinkage of water surface area.4
10. In India, Chilika Lake is the only habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins, classified as an endangered species by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).