Villagers come forward to save birds

Residents of a village by the Chilika lake are taking an initiative to protect the birds who call the lagoon home along with their habitat.

By LALMOHAN PATNAIK in Cuttack
  • Published 31.03.18
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WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
 

Cuttack: Residents of a village by the Chilika lake are taking an initiative to protect the birds who call the lagoon home along with their habitat.

The residents of Sundarpur have joined hands with the Chilka wildlife division and Wild Odisha, an organisation working to conserve nature and wildlife.

"A bird protection committee named Sri Sri Baba Muktesar Deva Pakhi Surakshya Samiti took oath at the local Mukteswar temple on Thursday to protect and conserving the birds' habitat in and around their village," Wild Odisha secretary Monalisha Bhujabal said.

The 35-member committee, which has former poachers as part of it, took the oath in the presence of Chilika divisional forest officer Bikash Ranjan Das and vice-chairman of Wild Odisha Nanda Kishore Bhujabal.

"As part of the joint effort with the local community, it was resolved to conserve both resident and migratory birds and their habitat, keeping the interests of the birds as top priority in all programs," Monalisha said.

Chilka is a Ramsar Convention Wetland, and hosts more than a million birds of 250 species - many of which migrate from foreign countries - apart from a host of rare and endangered reptiles, fishes and dolphins.

"Birds, however, continue to be the most threatened by poaching, hunting, illegal trade, destruction of habitats, and destruction of nests and chicks," she said. "In comparison to wildlife conservation in general, wild birds' conservation does certainly require community participation. The initiative involving the Sundarpur villagers will give a new direction to bird conservation in Chilka lake."

Chilka divisional forest officer Bikash Ranjan Das said the government will work with the villagers to ensure the birds enjoy maximum safety in the lake.

Sundarpur panchayat sarpanch Mamata Dei said the entire village would provide assistance for conservation of the birds and will work with the authorities for this.