Bhubaneswar, Jan 28 (LocalWire) The 2nd National Chilika Bird Festival kick-started at Mangalajodi , Chilika, largest brackish water lake of Odisha, with the aim to promote ecotourism and preservation of birds in the state.
The two-day festival includes photo exhibitions, seminars and visit to Nalabana Island.
Odisha Tourism Commissioner-cum-Secretary Vishal K. Dev said: “We want to promote and raise awareness about Chilika being the largest repository of migratory birds in Asia. Our focus is to make Odisha as one of the hotspots for Ecotourism. We plan to make this event bigger and better in future.”
Odisha Forest and Environment Additional Chief Secretary Suresh Mohapatra said: “This year we have around 1 million migratory birds present in Chilika.
We are recognising the efforts by the locals in preserving Chilika Lake and want to empower them by helping them with livelihood in form of sustainable tourism.”
Chilika Development Authority also released its book ‘Fish and Shellfish Diversity and it’s Sustainable Management in Chilika Lake.’
Around 145 bird watchers from all over India are in attendance for the event.
Andrew Sebastian, co-founder of Asian Birds Fair was the first technical speaker who enlightened the audience about the importance of preserving birds and praised the government for organising the festival.
The National Chilika Bird Festival Award was presented to Mangalajodi Ecotourism Group for their active involvement in bird protection.
This year Chilika received record number of birds footfall as a result of removal of illegal gheries from the lake by the Forest department.
The event is being co-organised by Odisha Tourism, Forest and Environment Department and Chilika Development Authority.