Okhla Bird Sanctuary, Surajpur wetland to open next week
Noida: As the Gautam Budh Nagar district partial corona restrictions ease, the forest department said it will re-open the Okhla Bird Sanctuary (OBS) next week.
The bird sanctuary and Surajpur reserve forest and wetland were closed for visitors and borders on April 17 in the wake of rising coronavirus disease cases in the city.
Though some of the curfew eased in the district on Monday, forest officials said they will observe the lockdown for a week more to see if the Covid-19 cases rise again.
“We have decided to open the sanctuary up for tourists and birders next week. As the restrictions are now being lifted in part, we have decided to observe the case tally for a week’s time to see if they continue to drop or at least don’t increase. After that only will we open both the OBS and the Surajpur sanctuary by next week,” said the divisional forest officer (DFO), GB Nagar, PK Srivastava.
He added that the infrastructure work, including the construction of six huts at OBS, will continue.
The OBS and Surajpur reserve forests were shut in March 2020 when the district experienced first Covid-19 cases and a nationwide lockdown was imposed. Both the habitats were reopened on September 15, 2020 with advisories.
The sanctuary, which is home to about 350 species of birds, is spread over an area of 400 hectares of which about 60% is water bodies and attracts a number of migratory birds during winters and passage migrants during summers.
The migratory birds start arriving in the sanctuary by October, while their strength reaches the peak by December.
According to the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC)-2021 by Wetlands International South Asia and the divisional forest department of Gautam Budh Nagar in January 2021, a total of 8,068 birds of a total of 73 species of water birds were counted. Of these, 27 were resident and local migratory species and 46 were migratory species.
Among the main attractions were Black-headed Ibis (Indian resident), Black-tailed Godwit (Winter migratory from Central Asia), Common Pochard (Winter migratory from Central Asia), Painted Stork (Indian resident species), Greater Spotted Eagle (Winter migratory migrates from Central Asia), Oriental Darter (Resident), River Lapwing (Resident), Ferruginous Duck (Winter migratory from Central Asia).