Poaching drops at Chilika after vigil

Hard work by wildlife authorities seems to have paid off with incidence of bird poaching in the Chilika lake coming down significantly this year.

By Our correspondent in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 16.03.18
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Birds’ Paradise
 

Bhubaneswar: Hard work by wildlife authorities seems to have paid off with incidence of bird poaching in the Chilika lake coming down significantly this year.

Chilika divisional forest officer Bikash Ranjan Das said only seven poachers had been arrested this bird season in the lake area against around 14 arrests last year. "We are still maintaining a tight vigil in the lake even though 60 per cent of the migratory birds have left," he said, adding that the anti-poaching squads would continue to patrol the lagoon till the end of the season.

As many as 19 anti-poaching camps were set up along Chilika, Asia's largest brackish water lake straddling three districts of the state, to ensure the safety of visiting avians. Some 10 camps were established at Tangi, while vigil was also tight at places such as Mangaljodi and Bhushanpur which had reported poaching cases in the past.

This year, officials have counted as many as 8.93 lakh birds in the lake area, which is less than last year when 9.47 lakh avians had visited the lake during the winter. Officials attributed the fall in the number of winged visitors to the high water level in the lake. "This made it difficult for wading birds to get a footing in the lake," said an official.

Chilika, which has been formed by the backwaters of the sea, witnesses one of the largest congregations of migratory birds in the country during the winter. But, poaching has always remained a matter of concern for officials trying to ensure a peaceful stay for the winged guests here.

In the past, repeated efforts had been made to sensitise the poachers. They were also offered alternative livelihood options. But, the initiatives met with limited success as people living at the villages on the lake periphery found poaching to be an easy way of making a fast buck.

Green activist Shashi Kant Mishra said the government should continue its efforts to dissuade people of the area from poaching. "They should be actually be made part of part of bird protection initiatives," said Mishra.