Mangalajodi

 
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Wetland area symbol ? Sumit Sen
                   Mangalajodi Wetlands, Chilka, Orissa
 

 


? Shamim
Mangalajodi

Images: Bikramadittya G Roy, Dhritiman Mukherjee, Nilanjan Das, Sajal Bar & Shamim Akhter

Images   Trip Report

Introduction

? Sumit Sen

Mangalajodi wetlands are a freshwater swamp at the north-eastern edge of Chilka Lake and is located between 19? 54.823'N 85? 26.184'E and 19? 53.755'N  85? 26.332'E. Mangalajodi hamlet is about 60kms south south-west of Bhubaneshwar city off NH 5 and 4 kms south-east of Tangi town in Khurda district of Orissa, India.

? Dhritiman

The area (about 10sq. kms) is primarily a freshwater zone connected by channels cut through the reed beds with the brackish waters of Chilka lagoon. It is covered with emergent vegetation and reed beds consisting mostly of Typha angustata and Phragmites karka. The main channel runs north to south for about 3 kms and has a nature trail running parallel to it for about 2 kms terminating in a watchtower.

Birds

? Sajal
Whiskered Terns

'Mangalajodi Ghera' is a waterfowl haven, attracting thousands of winter migrants and playing host to significant and diverse populations of breeding residents. Recognized as an IBA, Mangalajodi supports over 200,000 - 300,000 waterfowl in winter with populations of 15 species exceeding 1% of their bio-geographical population.

? Nilanjan
Ruddy Shelduck

These include Tufted Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Fulvous Whistling-duck, Purple Swamphen, Asian Openbill, Cotton Pygmy-goose and Grey-headed Lapwing. Other species regularly observed in significant numbers are Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Black-tailed Godwit, Garganey, Eurasian Wigeon, Ruddy Shelduck, Clamorous Reed Warbler, and other resident birds. Raptors include Eurasian Marsh Harrier, Brahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea Eagle while the Whiskered Tern is abundant in season.

? Shamim
Brahminy Kite

Conservation

Large scale poaching has historically been a major threat to the avifauna of Mangalajodi wetland. Poaching provided an alternate livelihood to the 3000 odd residents of the village and threatened to destroy the area as a bird breeding and wintering habitat of immense importance.

Efforts to curb poaching and provide alternate means of livelihood to the families were started in 1996-1997 by Mr. Nanda Kishor Bhujabal and the members of Wild Orissa, an organization working on wildlife conservation issues. These efforts bore fruit with the formation of Sri Mahavir Pakhshi Surakshya Samiti, on 10th December 2000. Poachers were converted to protectors and were made members of this Samiti (committee). Six members from the committee carry out daily surveillance and patrolling to check incidences of poaching. The Orissa Wildlife Department also chipped in by has provided seasonal employment to some Samiti members. Wild Orissa provided small wooden boats for patrolling and monitoring and the Chilka Development authority provided much needed funding for this conservation initiative.

? Dhritiman
Marsh Sandpiper

These efforts bore fruit with the official census bird count at Mangalajodi rising from 5000 birds in 1999-2000, to 10,000 birds in 2000-2001 reaching a figure of 3, 00,000 birds in the year 2003-2004. The effort was recognized by the Government of Orissa with the Pakhshi Bandhu (Friends of birds) Award" for the year 2001being bestowed on the Sri Mahavir Pakhshi Surakshya Samiti.


How to reach:  

? Sumit Sen

Mangalajodi lies at the north-eastern tip of Chilka Lake. It is 30 kms from Khurdah Road Railway station and lies off National Highway 5 connecting Kolkata to Chennai. The nearest railhead is Kalupadaghat on S.E. Railway's Howrah-Chennai line and Tangi on NH5 is the nearest town. Bhubaneshwar city is a 2 hour drive from Mangalajodi.

Where to stay: 'Wild Orissa' runs a sparse eco-tourism camp at Mangalajodi. Contact them for bookings. Alternative, and better equipped,  accommodation is available at Balugaon, Barkul (OTDC Panthanivas), Kalupada.and Khurda Road - all are within driving distance of the site.

Contacts:
Shri Nanda Kishore Bhujabal

Governor Wild Orissa, Tangi Regional Chapter
P.O Tangi
District Khurda; Orissa
Phone: 09937153857
E-mail: nandakishorebhujabal@wildorissa.org

Tips: If you don't have a vehicle with you, arrange one from the place you are staying at. Boat rides at Mangalajodi cost around INR 500 to INR 1500 per day, depending upon time and distance covered. You can carry packed food or inform the guides beforehand to prepare lunch for you.

Places of interest: A visit to Mangalajodi should be combined with a visit to Chilka Lake and Nalabana Bird Sanctuary. Chilka Lake is a 1165 sq km. brackish water estuarine lagoon of international importance for waterfowl. Every winter, Chilka and its surrounding areas host a staggering 7-800,000 birds comprising 121 species.

Best time: November to March

References:
1. Potential and Exisiting Ramsar Sites in India; Islam M.Z. & Rahmani A.R. (2008); BNHS

Sumit K Sen
Kolkata, India

 

   
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