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- Migratory birds have started their annual journey to Chilika —India’s largest waterbird habitat in Odisha — ahead of winter this year.
- Chilika Lake is the largest brackish water lagoon in Asia and the second-largest coastal lagoon in the world.
- It is one of the hotspots of biodiversity in the country.
- It is spread over the Puri, Khordha, and Ganjam districts of Odisha at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
- The north shore of the lake is part of Khordha District and the western shore is part of Ganjam District.
- Chilika Lake has been listed as a tentative UNESCO World Heritage site.
- In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
- Its salinity varies by region, from nearly freshwater where rivers flow in, to oceanic salinity levels due to tidal influx.
- The lake is of estuarine character in an ephemeral environment.
Ground for migratory birds
- It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent.
- Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea, and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Kazakhstan, Central and Southeast Asia, Ladakh, and the Himalayas come here.
Flora and Fauna
- The lake is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals.
- Around 152 rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins have also been reported.
- The rare and threatened animal species identified are green sea turtle (EN), dugong (VU), Irrawaddy dolphin (EN), blackbuck (NT), Spoon billed sandpiper (CR), Chilika limbless skink (CR) and fishing cat (VU).
- Flora: Important species identified are:
- Leguminosae, Poaceae, and Cyperaceae
- Endemic Cassipourea ceylanica
- Five species of seagrass
- Wild plants of horticultural importance
- Insectivorous plants, epiphytes, parasites, and lithophytes
- Mangrove associate
Geography and Topography
- Chilika Lake is a shallow bar-built estuary with large areas of mudflats.
- The western and southern margins of the lake are fringed by the Eastern Ghats hill range.
- The lake has numerous islands.
- The six major islands are Parikud, Phulbari, Berahpura, Nuapara, Nalbana, and Tampara.
- Rambha Bay at the southern end of the lake with the group of islands include:
- The Becon Island
- The Breakfast Island
- Honeymoon Island.
- Somolo and Dumkudi islands are located in the Central and Southern sectors of the lake.
- Satapada village, at the new mouth of the lake, provides a view of the Lake.
- Barunkuda, a small island is situated near the mouth of the lake.
- Manikapatna, located on the outer channel has historical evidence of a port which was used for trade with Far East.
- Mangalajodi is a famous bird sanctuary for sighting migratory birds here.
Support to Livelihood
- The highly productive Chilika Lagoon ecosystem with its rich fishery resources sustains the livelihood of many fishermen who live in and near the lagoon.
- Vembanad Lake is the longest lake in India [96.5 kilometres] whereas the length of Chilika Lake is 64 kilometers.
Q. Consider the following statements:
1. Chilka Lake is spread over the Puri, Khordha, and Ganjam districts of Odisha.
2. It is located at the mouth of the Mahanadi River.
3. Somolo and Dumkudi islands are located in the Central and Southern sectors of the lake.
How many of the above statements is/are incorrect?
A) Only 1
B) Only 2
C) All 3
Answer: A) Only 1
It is located at the mouth of Daya River.
Q. “Manikapatna” was an ancient port used for trade with Far East. It is located on the outer channel of which lake?
1. Kolleru Lake
2. Pulikat lake
3. Rudrasagar Lake
4. Chilka Lake
Choose the correct code.
Option 4. D Chilka Lake