After lakhs of Olive Ridley sea turtles, absence of humans amid lockdown, give over 97,000 birds a chance to nest peacefully at Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park. By Tanvi Jain
In Bhitarkanika National Park, Kendrapada, 97,866 #birds of 10 species were found in the #census. This is an appreciable rise, resulting from reduced #human interference, ample food & more open spaces. I hope the rise is maintained in the future. @moefcc https://t.co/cg34bZrqg0 pic.twitter.com/1oMTUcT83i
— Dhanraj Nathwani (@DhanrajNathwani) September 7, 2020
Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park has witnessed a significant increase in the number of seasonal monsoon birds flocking the place for annual nesting. As per officials this year more than 97,000 birds of 10 different species showed up at the park, which is around 10,000 more than the previous year.
However, the birds have shifted their nesting location inside the park in Kendrapara district, from their earlier favourite Bagagahana to Matadiha, Laxmiprasad Diha and Durga Prasad Diha wetlands. Moreover, Gendalia has turned out to be the year’s most identified species, among others such as Anjana, Kaparkhai, Panikua, Rani Baga and Khaira.
Photo of the Day: Brown-winged kingfisher in Bhitarkanika National Park, Odisha, in India, by @D_Supriya
— BBC Wildlife (@WildlifeMag) September 9, 2020
“The nests were found in Mathadiha inside the national park and Laxmiprasad Diha and Durga Prasad Diha, which are located outside the park. This year, the most identified species is Gendalia (open billed stork). Availability of ample food and good weather conditions are the reasons for the increase in the number of birds this year,” Rajnagar’s divisional forest officer, Bikash Ranjan Das, was quoted by the media.
In fact, being the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India, the Bhitarkanika National Park houses eight species of kingfishers as well. As per officials, lack of human interference amid lockdown and favourable climatic conditions have resulted in the impressive number of seasonal monsoon birds.
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Every monsoon, the park hosts thousands of local and migratory birds who fly from far off places such as Russia, Caspian Sea, Central Asia, Himalayas and Ladakh. These birds build nests on Bani, Kerua and Guan trees, and return with their birdlings by October.
Earlier in February this year, Odisha’s Tourism and Culture Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi had said that the state has urged the Centre to include the park in the list of iconic tourism sites, along with the Sun Temple of Konark, in order to attract tourists from all over the world.
The park, which is also home to crocodiles and snakes, hosts the Bhitarkanika festival every year to spread awareness about wildlife conservation. Almost a decade ago, a 23-feet long saltwater snake from here, was recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest snake in the world.