Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik inaugurates 4th National Chilika Birds Festival | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik inaugurates 4th National Chilika Birds Festival

Jan 27, 2024 09:29 PM IST

The three-day program, which will continue until January 29, has seen the participation of 52 selected birders from various parts of India.

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the fourth National Chilika Birds Festival at an event coordinated by the department of tourism, department of forest, and Chilika Development Authority on Saturday. According to a government release, the festival commenced with a captivating ‘Photo Exhibition’ grand opening. During the event's launch, Patnaik commended the three departments' collective efforts, saying, “which promises to add another feather in Odisha’s hat – a soaring birding hub” as mentioned in a government release.

Mangalajodi, located in the northeastern part of Chilika, Asia's largest brackish water lake, is renowned as the “Birds Paradise of Asia”. (File)
Mangalajodi, located in the northeastern part of Chilika, Asia's largest brackish water lake, is renowned as the “Birds Paradise of Asia”. (File)

In his remarks, Patnaik characterised the festival as “a pilgrimage for over a million-winged visitors of varied species, which undertake flights to the mighty but calm Chilika Lake – Asia’s largest brackish water lake.” The three-day program which will continue up to January 29 witnessed the participation of 52 selected birders from different parts of India.

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The release further said that attendees and representatives will embark on birding excursions to Mangalajodi – Nalabana over the following two days. Mangalajodi, located in the northeastern part of Chilika, Asia's largest brackish water lake, is renowned as the “Birds Paradise of Asia”. Hundreds of thousands of “Winged Guests” worldwide flock to the bird sanctuary during the winter.

Providing an overview of the government's focused conservation efforts, state tourism minister Aswini Kumar Patra said, “While the elusive wildlife deep within our forests evades our sights, Odisha can proudly claim to be a birding hub – thanks to pioneering efforts in wetland and bird conservation and special initiatives like the National Chilika Birds Festival. This year’s census has revealed a total count of 11.37 lakh birds across over 187 species. I wish all the participants, birders, photographers, and delegates to have a great time in Mangalajodi and Nalabana.”

Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) Chairman Dr. Lenin Mohanty said, “Mangalajodi in Chilika is a trailblazing example of community-led conservation, establishing itself as an unmatched birding destination. From initiatives like removing encroachments to recent extensive census activities and promotional campaigns like the National Chilika Bird Festival, our collective goal is positioning Odisha as the most sought-after birding hub in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Complementing the joint vision, Director Nandankanan & Chief Executive Chilika Development Authority Dr. Manoj Nair said in his vote of thanks, “It will not be an exaggeration to say that the soul of Odisha Tourism resides in Chilika. Our conservation efforts will continue synergising with our tourism development efforts.”

The State of India’s Birds poster and video were unveiled during the opening ceremony. The video, titled State of India's Birds, encapsulates a scientific report assessing India's bird species. This periodic evaluation delves into the geographic distribution, abundance trends, and conservation status of most bird species commonly found in the country. The report is a collaborative effort, with contributions from 13,000 bird watchers.

The discussions led by Director Nandankanan & Chief Executive Chilika Development Authority Manoj Nair, Scientist from the Wildlife Institute of India Suresh Kumar, Birder and Author Panchami Manoo Ukil, and Renowned Photographer Dhritiman Mukherjee played a significant role in advancing the festival's objective of fostering awareness and appreciation for the diverse avian life around Chilika Lake. Their combined expertise covered scientific research, birding experiences, and visual storytelling, creating a comprehensive and engaging program for all participants.

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