Khurda: With winter fast setting in Odisha, the number of migratory birds in Chilika lake is increasing. Some rare species also can be seen among the migratory birds. However, many have alleged that protection for the birds is on the wane. They alleged Monday that temporary camps set up to guard the avian guests have been left in the hands of night watchmen.
When the camps were set up, it had been decided that a three member team comprising a forester, a forest guard and a night watchman would oversee the protection of the birds. However, forest department officials are rarely seen in the camps at night, bird lovers alleged.
Due to poaching of birds of rare species, the Balugaon Wildlife department had taken certain proactive measures. A total of 21 camps were set up and a mobile squad was formed for surveillance to protect the migratory birds.
The Tangi range has the 11 camps, Balugaon range has four at Nalaban, Satapada has two, Rambha two and Chilika one for effective surveillance on illegal hunting activities.
The camps set were up under Tangi range at Mangalajodi, Halisinga, Bhusandapur, Balipatapur, Deypur, Dholapur, Barunapada, Abhimanpur, Sundarpur, Nairi and Sorana villages.
Water routes were to be covered by motorised boats. The mobile squad was to shuttle on the land route between Balugaon and Tangi and raid different hotels and roadside eateries (dhaba) randomly.
On being contacted, Tangi Wildlife official CH Murmu said, “As there are insufficient foresters now under this range, each forest guard in a team has been asked to simultaneously look after two camps.”
It is pertinent to mention, starting from the second week of October, more than 22 thousand birds belonging to 62 species have thronged the lake in the first phase, an official in Wildlife department said.
Usually, the migratory birds come to Chilika lake by the beginning of October every year. Despite the late arrival of winter, the avian guests have already reached the lake this year. The birds prefer to stay in Nalaban and Mangalajodi under Tangi range, the official added.
The birds come from distant places like Siberia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, America and Canada and also from Ladakh in India.
As per a census conducted last year, as many as 12,42,000 migratory birds belonging to 190 different species had come to Chilika and its nearby areas. Seven criminal cases were registered against 15 bird hunters and more than 50 carcasses were seized from their possession along with arrest of the offenders, the official stated.