Home Daily News Discover the Marvels of Chilika: Highlights from the 4th National Chilika Birds Festival

Discover the Marvels of Chilika: Highlights from the 4th National Chilika Birds Festival

by Nita Mishra

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik officially opened the 4th National Chilika Birds Festival on Saturday. Calling Chilika Lake “a pilgrimage for over a million-winged visitors of varied species,” Patnaik praised the Department of Tourism, the Department of Forest, Environment and Climate Change, and the Chilika Development Authority for organizing the event, hoping it would elevate Odisha as a premier birding destination.

The festival, hosted by the Department of Tourism, Department of Forest, and Chilika Development Authority, commenced with a stunning Photo Exhibition featuring works from acclaimed photographers like Shakti Nanda, Umakanta Biswal, and Dhritiman Mukherjee.

The exhibit showcased captivating images of diverse avian wonders in the Chilika region, highlighting the photographers’ skill and the area’s rich biodiversity. This three-day event brought together 52 birders from various parts of India.

Tourism Minister Aswini Kumar Patra emphasized the government’s conservation efforts, sharing that this year’s bird census recorded an impressive 11.37 lakh birds belonging to over 187 species. He expressed his wishes for all participants to have an enjoyable time exploring Mangalajodi and Nalabana.

Odisha Tourism’s management of the tourism ecosystem received acclaim from OTDC Chairman Lenin Mohanty. He cited Mangalajodi’s community-led conservation efforts as a model for sustainable birding destinations, thanks to initiatives like the National Chilika Birds Festival.

Surendra Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, highlighted the connection between eco-conservation and tourism, emphasizing community involvement in conservation efforts. Local boatmen were actively engaged in the festival this year, promoting responsible tourism practices.

Director of Tourism Sachin Ramchandra Jadhav welcomed participants and envisioned foreign participation in future editions. He encouraged attendees to explore parallel events like Bird Walks and Lecture Talks to grasp Odisha’s biodiversity comprehensively.

Director Nandankanan & Chief Executive Chilika Development Authority, Manoj Nair, expressed gratitude, emphasizing the alignment of conservation and tourism development. The State of India’s Birds poster and video, launched at the ceremony, provided a scientific assessment of India’s bird species, with 13,000 bird watchers contributing to the report.

The festival featured talks by experts such as Manoj Nair, Suresh Kumar from the Wildlife Institute of India, birder and author Panchami Manoo Ukil, and photographer Dhritiman Mukherjee. Their collective expertise covered scientific research, birding experiences, and visual storytelling, creating an engaging program.

A Parallel Session on Citizen Science and Bird Conservation united delegates passionate about involving citizens in avian biodiversity preservation. The workshop facilitated knowledge exchange and collaboration, exploring innovative approaches to integrate citizen science into bird conservation efforts.

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