A field mission was carried out in the Bhitarkanika Ramsar site from 31 August to 4 September 2021 by technical experts from GIZ and Wetlands International South Asia, with the latter providing technical support.
The primary agenda was to hold a review and reflection meeting with the DFO Rajnagar on the Hydro-ecological and livelihood assessments of the Ramsar site carried out by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) and TARU, respectively. The meeting also looked upon the need for an integrated management plan for wise use of the Ramsar site that will supplement the recently approved management plan for Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park 2020-2030. This will be drafted in the required format by the National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA) of the MoEFCC.
The meeting was followed by a visit to green recovery sites facilitated by Action for Protection of Wild Animals (APOWA) a local NGO promoting organic horticulture and mangrove plantations as a response to Covid-19 reverse migration in the Suniti, Jamboo, Junus Nagar villages within the Ramsar site.
A boat ride into the lush mangrove forest and the creeks of Bhitarkanika National Park enabled the team to lay sight upon the saltwater crocodile, Asian water monitor, spotted deer and a number of species of kingfishers like the brown-winged kingfisher, collared kingfisher and the pied kingfisher. The field mission was concluded by testing the management effectiveness tracking tool (METT) with the inputs provided by the DFO and the shortcoming in the tool will be addressed for its application on management of any wetland type.