Life between Net and Death in Chilika

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I was on a planned trip to Chilika’s Teen Muhana (Three River Mouths) with friends from Odisha, to watch migratory waterfowl of the great wetland. We started early in the morning from Mangalajodi on a hired boat. It was a lovely winter morning and the sun had gently warmed up the lake, where we witnessed large congregations of waterfowl.

Our first stop was at a very small island no.7 for 10 minutes. As we proceeded again towards Teen Muhana, … Read More

Film Screening: ‘Chilika – Jewel of Odisha’, 25th Sept 2013, SCCS, IISc, Bangalore

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Chilika-film-375

Chilika — The Jewel of Odisha

A Chilika Development Authority Presentation
Produced, Photographed and Written by: Shekar Dattatri
Duration: 21 minutes
Screening: 5pm, open to public

This is the story of Chilika, a dying lake that was restored to life. Situated on India’s East Coast, in the state of Odisha, Chilika is the largest brackish water lagoon in Asia. It is also the largest wintering ground for waterfowl on the Indian subcontinent, attracting migrants from Europe, Central Asia and Siberia. … Read More

Dhole and Indian Wolf, Debrigarh, Odisha

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Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary in Western Odisha must currently be one of the very few PAs in the country where dholes and wolves co-exist! Interestingly, sporadic reports in March 2013 by frontline staff seem to indicate that the lone male wolf, which made its appearance about a month back, has been hanging around near the pack of dholes. In fact, the RFO could see them interacting in close proximity for extended periods of time — feigning charges, scent marking, etc.

The … Read More

Q: I am from Odisha and interested in wildlife conservation. From where can I start my mission? Please give me some information about NGOs working towards protecting nature in Odisha. Thanks.

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Answer from Aditya Panda, a wildlife conservationist based in Odisha.

Dear Pradyumna,

It’s great to see your interest in wildlife conservation. I would advise you to first start by reading up as much as possible regarding the conservation issues of Orissa, the laws and policies on wildlife in general in India, with particular emphasis on those which relate to species and habitats found in Orissa, conservation efforts, including successes and failures, etc. so that you first gain a thorough overview … Read More

Chilika – A Shade Less Pink?

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In the winter of 2011-2012, I had the unique opportunity and privilege of being in Lake Chilika, Odisha, for a total of 40 days. While there were many resident and migrant birds to admire, Greater and Lesser flamingos, which used to be regular and abundant visitors to Nalabana Island inside Lake Chilika, were noticeably few. Population studies (done between 2001 and 2005 by scientists from the Bombay Natural History Society) show that around 5000 Greater Flamingos used to arrive until … Read More

Olive Ridley hatchlings at Rushikulya, Orissa

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Olive Ridley turtles are the smallest marine turtles. They hatch in millions on certain sections of Orissa’s coasts. But due to several threats (all man-made), very few of those that hatch make it to the sea — a distance of less than a 100 metres. And even those that make it to the sea get caught in fishermen’s dragnets further lessening the number that grow into adults to come back and lay eggs.

Some NGOs are working hard to protect … Read More

Dhamra Port Commissioned Despite Environmental Concerns

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The Dhamra port — joint venture between Larsen & Toubro and Tata Steel — has been commissioned after many years of environmental protests over allegations that the port was situated on protected forest land. Situated at the mouth of the River Dhamra in Bhadrak district, the Rs. 3500 crore project will have 13 berths after the final phase of construction is completed in 2014. The port has already handled 2.07 MT of imported cargo, mostly coking coal and limestone. Iron … Read More

Three Elephants Killed By Poachers In Simlipal

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Three elephants have been killed by poachers in Simlipal Tiger Reserve, Orissa. The pair of tusks missing from one of the elephants pointed to the fact that this is the work of ivory traders. It appears that the elephants had been poisoned. Conservationists have expressed concerns over poachers being active in Simlipal again. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has also expressed concern over mass killings of elephants. Last year, about 10 elephants were killed in Simlipal. … Read More

Orissa Imposes Seven-month Ban On Fishing Near Turtle Nesting Sites

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Orissa has imposed a 7-month fishing ban within 20 kms of the coastline in three districts where there are olive ridley turtle nesting sites. Turtles have started congregating for their annual mating and mass nesting ritual. The ban has been imposed near the beaches of Gahirmatha, Rushikulya and Devi. Patrolling will be intensified to enforce the ban strictly. Last year, there were two nesting events and a record 7.2 lakh turtles had nested on the beaches. However, despite many conservation … Read More

Mangalajodi — A Village Of Bird Protectors In Orissa

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How do you convert a village of hardened poachers into committed conservationists? Read on to find out.

Mangalajodi village is situated on the banks of Chilika lake in Odisha (formerly Orissa). Chilika Lake is a brackish water lake, with lagoonal characteristics, spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Orissa state on the east coast of India. It is Asia’s largest brackish water lake. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds in the Indian subcontinent. The lake … Read More

Migratory Birds Arrive at Bhitarkanika Wetlands

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Over 75,000 migratory birds have landed at Bhitarkanika National Park (BKNP) in Orissa. The birds are local migrants and will Bhitarkanika their seasonal home for nesting. Grey Herons, Purple Herons, Darters, Cormorants and Large, Intermediary and Little Egrets are prominent amongst the visitors. Bhitarkanika has little human interference, ideal climactic conditions, cool breeze and an ideal river system. All these have proved to be ideal conditions for the birds.

BKNP is intersected by a network of creeks with Bay of … Read More

Jairam Ramesh Pushes for More Protection for Tigers in Similipal National Park

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Mr. Jairam Ramesh has written a letter to Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asking for more safeguard measures for Tigers in Orissa. He has suggested at-least eight measures and has also asked the Orissa Chief Minister to intervene personally. The letter has been prompted by the visit of a senior official from the National Tiger Conservation Authority to Similipal National Park, who appraised Jairam Ramesh about the situation. The letter recommends that a small contingent of the state armed force … Read More

Annual Breeding Season for Estuarine Crocodiles in Orissa

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The annual breeding season of Orissa’s estuarine crocodiles has picked up pace. Forest officials have identified 28 nesting sites within the Bhitarkanika National Park in coastal Orissa. The nesting season will extend for another two months. Human interference during this time is causing the reptiles to react violently. Though prohibition has been enforced, settlers near the park often intrude into the dangerous waters. Two human deaths have been reported so far due to crocodile attacks. The victims are usually people … Read More

Elephants Face Severe Threats in Orissa

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The Elephant population in Orissa’s forests are facing multiple and severe threats. Rampant poaching in Similipal National Park has caused more than 20 elephant deaths in two years. Maoist fears have kept conservation activities to a minimum.

A severely skewed sex ratio, under staffed protection camps, large number of electrocution deaths, fragmented habitats and retaliatory killings against depredations add to the list of threats that elephants face. The State Government has put in place a Rs. 50 crore management plan … Read More