A record number of 28,569 water-birds belonging to 71 species were found visiting the Mahanadi basin from Banki to Jobra during the 5th census conducted for the stretch on Sunday by the Wild Orissa.
A stretch of 50 km of the Mahanadi was covered by 12 census units comprising over 60 volunteers for counting of water-birds. The teams surveyed the Mahanadi and as well as wetlands and water-bodies located on both sides of its bank and counted the birds in a synchronized manner.
Well-known wildlife conservationists Nanda Kishore Bhujabal, retired Conservator Suresh Kumar Mishra, 'Wild Orissa' joint secretary Sudhanwa Dash along with other members from 'Wild Orissa', Kalinga Birds, Mahavir Pakshi Surakshya Samiti, research scholars and students from North Odisha Unversity, Utkal University, Berhampur University, OUAT, Centurion University, BJB College, BK Arts College, Ravenshaw University, Rotary Club New Horizon Bhubaneswar were part of the enumeration drive. The census was coordinated by Wild Orissa, Bhubaneswar Chapater governor Suchitra Sahoo.
The 2020 water-bird Census figure of 28,569 is recorded as the highest number compared to counts in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The figure of species (71) is also the highest as last highest number of 58 species had been found rin 2018.
The census preliminary findings revealed that the Mahanadi River ecosystem is extremely rich in avi-faunal diversity and needs to be protected under appropriate legal regime of the country. During the census, many rare and endangered bird species like Black Bellied Tern, Oriental Darter, Great Thick Knee, River Lapwing and River Tern were marked. The Indian Skimmer, River Tern, River Lapwing, Black Bellied Tern, Great Thick Knee breed in this habitat during the months of February-May.