Quaint Chilka lagoon still bird poachers' haven

Quaint Chilka lagoon still bird poachers' haven


According to officials manning the lake, while nearly three lakh birds have congregated on the Nalabana bird sanctuary within the lake, the rest two lakh have made their temporary homes in the islands inside the lake as well as in the nearby villages.
However, the picturesque water body continues to be a poachers’ haven as killing of the avian guests has already been reported from different areas of the lake.
Last week, forest department guards on duty inside the lake arrested a bird hunter and seized 16 migratory birds from his possession.

These poached birds, unfortunately, included four belonging to endangered species. Another poacher was nabbed on Sunday and four dead birds were recovered from him.
As per the official figures, so far seven bird hunters have already been taken into custody this season and 74 dead birds have been seized from them.
The arrival of migratory birds into the lake will continue till the first week of January. Therefore, it is expected that the bird hunters will be more active in the coming days.
The forest department, in charge of the safety and security of the winged visitors, has formed 16 anti-poaching squads besides setting up security camps inside the lake to stop the killing of these innocent migratory birds. Besides, bird awareness programmes are also being organised in the villages in and around the lake on regular intervals with the help of NGOs.

However, all these steps seem to be having no impact on the poaching activities.
Meanwhile, sources in the forest department said the annual bird census in the lake would be held on January 12. Apart from the forest department personnel, students and teachers from different     universities within the state, NGO activists and bird experts from other states would take part in this census programme.
This winter, the arrival of migratory birds in Chilka had been delayed by almost six weeks. Experts believe that the global warming could have been one of the reasons behind the late arrival of the winged visitors.

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