Chilika Lake: Ramsar site (Wetlands) in India

About Chilika Lake

  1. It is a brackish water lagoon.
  2. It is India’s largest coastal lagoon and the 2nd largest lagoon in the world.
  3. It is the first Ramsar site in India designation on 1st October 1981.
  4. World Tourism Organisation (WTO) designated it the 8th “Destination Flyways” in the world and first in India.
  5. It is the largest migratory birds nesting ground in India.
  6. Location – Puri, Khurda, and Ganjam districts of Odisha
  7. Area of wetland – 1,16,500 hectares
  8. Designation: Criteria 2 – Criteria based on species and ecological communities
  9. Protection Status – 15.5 km2 island Nalabana designated as Bird Sanctuary
  10. Wetland Type – Natural lagoon
  11. It was added to the Montreux Record in 1993 and removed from the record in 2002

Species richness found in Chilika Lake

  1. 225 Birds
  2. 300+ Fishes
  3. 18 Mammals
  4. 37 Reptiles & Amphibians
  5. 900+ Plants

Some important species found in Chilika Lake

  1. Scalloped Hammerhead – Critically endangered
  2. Smalltooth Sawfish – Critically endangered
  3. Ganges Shark – Critically endangered
  4. Irrawaddy Dolphin – Endangered
  5. Winghead Shark – Endangered
  6. Longhead Eagle Ray – Endangered

Values and Benefits of Chilika Lake

  1. 12,500 MT of commercial fish harvested annually from here
  2. 10,000 MT of plants harvested annually
  3. Provide several medicinal and ornamental resources
  4. 10-17 tonne CO2 blue carbon equivalent soaked by seagrass beds
  5. It acts as buffers for communities from storms and cyclones
  6. Helps in stabilizing Coastline
  7. It accounts for 70% of migratory fish and 100+ intercontinental migrant waterbirds
  8. Over 0.5 million tourists visit here annually
  9. Scientific and educational importance
  10. Cultural importance – Kalijai temple and several historical sites found here
  11. It helps in purifying water

Major threats for Chilika Lake

  1. Siltation
  2. Pollution from settlements
  3. Illegal aquaculture
  4. Unsustainable fish harvest
  5. Phragmites in northern sector
  6. Unsustainable tourism
  7. Extreme events changes lagoon mouth

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