BERHAMPUR: Orissa's famed blue lagoon, the Chilika Lake, which becomes home to hundreds of migratory birds in winter, is failing to curb poaching
despite a strong security net.

Wildlife officials registered four cases and arrested two persons allegedly for poaching recently. The lake hosts over four lakh migratory birds during winter. The latest incident of poaching was reported from Sorana on Friday night. Forest officials and police seized 16 different birds, one pintail and 15 Indian moorhens, from a person.

"The poacher, identified as Anwar Khan, was caught red handed by the staff when he was returning to his village after poaching in Chilika," said divisional forest officer B P Acharya. Khan was identified as a habitual bird poacher and was arrested by wildlife officials.

Although wildlife and police officials have seized 15 different birds from poachers on three occasions, only one person was arrested. The other three, however, have managed to escape, the DFO said.

"While poaching was reported from Sorana and Kalupadaghata, no poaching was reported from the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary, where most migratory waterfowls congregate," he said.

Wildlife authorities have set up 21 camps, including two mobile camps, to guard the avian guests. "Several local youths have also engaged to protect the birds," the DFO said.

The birds concentrate in the 1,150 sq km Chilika Lake, mainly in Bhusandapur, Sorana and Mangalajodi areas. Flocks of migratory birds arrive from the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, remote parts of Russia, central and south East Asia, Ladakh and the Himalayas for feeding and roosting. The lake is recognized as the wintering zone for the largest congregation of waterfowls in the country. They start arriving in mid-October and roost here till the first week of March. But the peak congregation period is between mid-December and mid-January.

Link -