Krushnaprasad: Carcasses of hundreds of migratory birds have been floating over last two days in Chilika lake under local tehsil area in Puri district, according to a report.
Surprisingly, wildlife officials have no knowledge about the development even as nearby villagers are on a collection spree of dead birds for consumption purpose. Some people are even selling these birds to some restaurant owners at Satapada, it was learnt.
A large number of birds flock to Chilika, Asia’s largest brackish water lake, flying across thousands of miles during November. A special department has also been formed to ensure the safety of birds who stay here till February. Though a number of squads have been formed for their protection, ignorance of the department is baffling over the massive death of the winged guests.
It is suspected that the birds are dying after suffering from bird flu in the region.
According to reports, nearly three lakh feathered guests have come to Chilika lake this year which is spread across three districts – Ganjam, Puri and Khurda. It is feared that none of the visitors would survive unless the concerned department diagnoses the reason of death after collecting the samples. The carcasses were spotted near Tichhini, Gurubai, Sipia, Nuapada villages, locals said.
The development has encouraged poachers under Nuapada Wildlife Division to go on a hunting spree. The hunters sell the meat of birds to hotels at Satapada even as the officials claim to have taken strong measures to check bird poaching. The bird meat is in great demand among foreign tourists at Satapada, tour operators of Satapada under condition of anonymity revealed.
It was alleged that Chilika was no longer considered a safe place for the migratory birds due to unrestricted movement of motorised boats in Dolphin Point near Satapada. The birds are now headed towards nearby ponds and paddy fields thereby becoming easy prey for poachers, locals said.
Recently, an awareness camp was held on the safety of migratory birds under the guidance of Nuapada wildlife division officer Gangadhar Sahoo. But it seemed to have served no purposes.
When quizzed about the mass death of birds, Sahoo expressed his ignorance on the development. The bird lovers demanded sample collection of carcasses and action against the poachers. PNN