Dwindling numbers

Published: Thursday 15 March 2001

there has been a fall in the number of birds that migrated to the Nalabana bird sanctuary inside the Chilka Lake in Orissa this year. A survey conducted by the wildlife division of the state shows that a total of 990,000 birds, comprising 112 species, migrated to the sanctuary this year. Last year, around 1,500,000 birds of 125 species had migrated.

"Loss of proper habitat, inadequate protection and food are said to be the main reasons for the dwindling number of birds," said U N Dev, an ornithologist and director of the Bihang Institute for Ornithology and Mass Ecodevelopment, Bhubaneswar. He added that for some reason, the lake no longer attracted species such as cranes, mallard duck and European white stork.

But this year some of the avian species that were on the verge of extinction have been spotted at the sanctuary. A survey team spotted a European golden plover in the sanctuary for the first time. Chilka is Asia's largest brackish lagoon.

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