About Chilika lake
Alt: Birds Finding The Fishes In The Chilika Lake.;
Image Description: Chilika lake of Odisha is a great attraction for birds.
Image source: https://www.wallpaperflare.com/india-chilika-lake-birds-water-animal-themes-vertebrate-wallpaper-eyzwe
Odisha, the state of Jagannath is legendary for various things like its sea beaches, Jagannath Temple, Konark Temple and other cultural heritage sites. But Chilika lake existence within the culture dates back to 400years ago.
Almost 400 years ago, the saint-poet Purshottam Das, a friend of Lord Jagannath, wrote a poem about Lord Krishna dancing with a milkmaid called Maniki, who had come to sell curds on the banks of the Chilika.
Lake Chilika is that the largest coastal lagoon in India and therefore the largest brackish water lagoon within the world after The island coral reef. Chilika could be a veritable wonder of nature. allow us to try and come closer to the lake and comprehend its existence in an exceedingly better manner.
The Historical Aspect Of Chilika
Chilika lake spreads over the districts of Puri, Khurda and Ganjam on the geographical area of India, at the mouth of River Daya, flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
It spans a part of around 1,100km square and is that the biggest lake in India.
Alt text: chilika lake
Image Description: Chilika lake is a mesmerising lake to be sighted as a traveller.
Image source: File:Aerial satellite imagery of Chilika lake, Odisha.JPG – Wikimedia Commons
Geological evidence indicates the Chilika lake could be a a part of the Bay of Bengal during the later Pleistocene period. Excavations conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India at Golabai Sasan provide evidence of a sequence of Chilika lake area culture in three phases: Neolithic (c. 1600 BCE), Chalcolithic (c. 1400 BCE to c. 900 BCE), and Iron Age.
It’s mentioned within the scriptures dating back to the fourth century, tenth century, the 1800s when utilized by people and poets including Kabibar Radhanath Ray and Pandit Godavarish Mishra, freedom fighters and Saints
How Is Chilika So Different?
Chilika is like no other lake in the world, it holds a unique admiration. Its other name for the continent is the Swiss Lake.
A 60 km long barrier beach called Rejhansa, formed by northerly currents within the Bay of Bengal, resulted in the formation of this shallow lake.
It has a highly productive ecosystem, socio-economic importance, and supports rich biodiversity. The Chilika supports rich ecology around itself. The lake has various islands like Parikud, Phulbari, Berahpura, Nuapara, Nalbana, and Tampara.
It is the biggest wintering ground for migratory birds in India. In winter, Chilika lagoon flutters with thousands of migratory birds and water-fowls from as far because Siberia, the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral sea, remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, central and south-east Asia, Ladakh and therefore the Himalayas for feeding, resting and roosting.
The lake is the abode of diverse threatened, endangered, and vulnerable species of flora and fauna.
Ambiance Of Chilika
The beauty and ecological richness of Chilika lake have made it the house of varied birds, animals, fish, plants, and insects. the varied species of biodiversity whose genetic diversity is protected here are listed out below
Chilika Lake is one of the hotspots of biodiversity within the subcontinent. Chilika was designated as a Ramsar site in October 1981, under the convention of wetlands of international importance. Some species listed as endangered within the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List are found indigenously here.
The lake is legendary for bareheaded geese and customary geese, etc. many boats sail out daily on the lake’s blue expanse in search of mackerel, prawns, and crabs, this sight providing an insight into the pageant of rural India at its colorful best.
Some of the foremost popular fauna you’ll be able to site here are as follows:
● Chilika is the only home of the community of Irrawaddy Dolphins, a species in line with IUCN.
Alt: Dolphins at Chilika.;
Image Description: Dolphins are a treat to the eyes which has boosted boat tourism here.
Image source: Sea Waves Under Blue Sky · Free Stock Phot
● A small population of Bottlenose dolphins also are found here.
● A 2007 census revealed 138 dolphins.
● These dolphins have a mutual relationship with traditional fishermen.
● Fishermen recall once they would call resolute the dolphins, to drive fish into their nets.
Nalbana Bird Sanctuary
In Odia language, Nalbana means a ‘weed-covered island’. Nalbana was declared a volary in 1973 under the Wildlife Protection Act.
The Nalbana is the core area of the Ramsar Site and gets completely submerged during the monsoons.
Alt: Wildfowl visiting the Chilika lake in the winter season. ; Description: Migratory birds have their seasonal home as Chilika.
After the monsoons when the island gets exposed, the birds flock to the island in large numbers to go after its extensive mud
2. Aquatic Fauna
A variety of aqua fauna is found within the Chilika waters. a number of them are :
323 aquatic species are found, which incorporates 261 fish species, 28 prawns, and 34 crabs are reported out of which sixty-five species breed within the lake.
Two genera of prawns are found. The commercially important prawns are giant tiger prawns,
● Mangrove Crab is the most commercially important crab. Horseshoe Crabs are a threatened spices
Alt: Horseshoe crabs may soon be a thing of the past. ;
Image Description: Rampant trafficking of horseshoe crabs due to their therapeutic efficacy is causing them to dwindle.
Image source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe_crab
● 27 species of seafood are found here.
● Between 1998–2002, 40 fish species were recorded here for the primary time and following the reopening of the lake mouth in 2000, six threatened species have reappeared
Recent studies at Chilika lake found that altogether 726 species of flowering plants belonging to 496 genera and 120 families are supported by chilika. the foremost dominant family is Fabaceae, followed by Poaceae and Cyperaceae.
The most prominent species found are :
● Leguminosae, Poaceae, and Cyperaceae
● Endemic Cassipourea ceylanica
● Wild plants of horticultural significance and intriguing plant groups like insectivorous
plants, epiphytes, parasites, and lithophytes.
● Mangrove associates, like Aegiceras corniculatus, Excoecaria agalloch, fruit tree,
Pongamia pinnata, Colubrina Asiatica, Capparis roxburghii, Macrotyloma ciliatum, and
plenty of others.
Alt: Mangroves of the Chilika lake. ;
Image Description: Mangroves are shrubs or small trees that grow in coastal saline or brackish water.
● Five species of seagrass- Chilika has 20% of India’s seagrass distribution, playing an important role in oxygen production.
In this way, Lake Chilika is the mother of assorted threatened and rare species found within the entire world, caring for and nurturing them under its protective environment.
Threats Faced By Chilika
In a world stuffed with predators which are humans (sigh), nothing is safe. due to us that even the conservator must be conserved. Lake Chilika has been facing various forms of threats since the 70s. Some are discussed below
● Receding of water extent.
● Reduction in salinity and fishery reserves.
● Smothering of the inlet channel also as shifting of the mouth connecting to the ocean.
● Accumulation of freshwater invasive species, trying to substitute the intrinsically residing species.
● Strife between the fishermen and non-fishermen communities for fishing rights within the lake.
● Ever-increasing situation.
● Over-Interference of humans in the lake caused the death of the dolphins.
Alt: Many boats venture out in the chilika taking tourists through the lake.;
Image Description: Dolphins die in the chilika due to their collision with the boats or the floating gill nets.
Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chilika_lake.jpg
By 1993, the issues in Chilika were so severe that the lake was anesthetized ‘The Montreux Record’, thanks to alteration in its ecological character thanks to an excessive amount of human interference.
What Was Done To Save Lots Of The Chilika?
The entry of lake chilika within the Montreux Record captivated the eye of the planet. Advice on its conservation by the Ramsar Advisory Mission was taken action.
The state of Odisha founded its Chilika Development Authority(CDA) for the restoration and overall development of the lake under the Indian Societies Registration Act. it’s achieved commendable end up in conserving in and around the lake by its strategy of :
● Catchment areas are managed for the fauna.
● Protection of bird habitat and bird species is completed.
● Economic incentives to the local population to prevent the poaching of birds are provided.
● Measures to enhance the socio-economic conditions, like training programs to develop eco-tourism, are undertaken.
● Provision of solar street light systems to island villages.
● Conducting education and environmental awareness activities.
In 2002, Chilika became the primary site in Asia to be taken out of the Montreux Record, in light of the improved conditions of the lake.
The CDA was presented with the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award.
All’s Well That Ends Well…..
Chilika lake could be a true fighter who emerged from being sick to a replacement level of freshness. It had a journey of many ups and downs but never stopped being the companion of its flora and fauna. it was sick but still conserved.
As humans, we must feel answerable for our lakes, rivers, oceans, and therefore the environment. It’s time that we understand that it’s thanks to the environment that humans survive in the world, not the opposite way round.
This should always be remembered that our real treasure is Nature. The year 2020 has already taught us the lesson of messing up with nature. So asking to all:
“Save the planet as long as you’ll be able to,
Live with it as a worthy man;
Inciting nature isn’t in the slightest degree great,
A warning before it’s too late ….!!…!.