• Increased Bird Count: This year Chilika Lake saw the rise of bird count from 8.93 lakh in 2017-18 to 10.48 lakh in 2018-19 with 181 species of waterfowls and water dependent birds.
National Chilika Bird Festival: It has been inaugurated with an aim to promote ecotourism and preservation of birds.
• Main features: Photo exhibitions and seminars on birds are the main features of the festivals and participants are scheduled to visit the Nalbana Bird Sanctuary.
• A book titled ‘Fish and Shellfish Diversity and its Sustainable Management in Chilika Lake’ was also released on the occasion.
• This year Chilika has received record number of birds as a result of removal of illegal gheries (prawn-rearing enclosures) from the lake by the forest department.

Chilika Lake

• Chilika Lake is a brackish water lagoon, spread over the 3 districts (Puri, Khurda and Ganjam) of Odisha state. It is located at the mouth of the Daya River and flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
• It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest coastal lagoon in the world after The New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia.
• Wetland: Chilika Lake has been recognised as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
• Stopover site: It is a major stopover site for migratory birds from the Arctic and Sub-Arctic regions.

Nalbana Bird Sanctuary

• Nalbana Bird Sanctuary or Nalbana Island is the core area of the Ramsar designated wetlands of Chilika Lake.
• It was declared a bird sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
• Thousands of birds descend here during the migratory season.

Ramsar Convention

• The Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
• The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975.
• Since then, almost 90% of UN member states, from all over the world’s geographic regions, have acceded to become “Contracting Parties”.
• The Contracting Parties approved the Fourth Ramsar Strategic Plan for 2016-2024 at COP12, held in Uruguay in 2015.