Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei
Bhubaneswar: Odisha`s Chilika lagoon, which is a hotspot for biodiversity, has been named `destination flyways` by United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) following its inclusion in a list of eight such sites worldwide.
Official sources said the lagoon was so named for its sustainable and resilient destination for migratory birds.
The UN`s body arm, under the project “Destination Flyways”, will help Chilika Development Authority (CDA) develop strategies for protection of migratory birds through creation of innovative tourism and livelihood products with funding support from Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany.
The UN body’s arm on tourism and biodiversity would assist in development and implementation of strategies and projects linking sustainable tourism and livelihood resources.
Chilika is the only site to be selected from Asia by the UNWTO and was recommended by six international agencies such as Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity, Convention of Migratory Species, Ramsar Convention Secretariat, World Heritage and Man and the Biosphere Programmes of UNESCO.
The UNWTO has constituted a mission team for Chilika in January, which is being headed by Virginia Trapa and Dr Taej Mundkur. The team met top brass of Union Ministry of Tourism and Odisha Tourism Department during its visit to Chilika last week. They also held discussion with CDA’s Chief Executive Ajit Patnaik on the management of the lagoon.
This season, around 7.19 lakh migratory birds have been sighted in the 1100-sq km lagoon , which is less than the previous years.
Last winter, around 8.77 lakh birds of 180 species had visited the lake and 8.83 lakh birds of 167 species had visited the blue lagoon in 2012.