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Odisha: Bat Island will become an attraction for ecotourists | Bhubaneswar News

SAMBALPUR: People visiting the Hirakud Dam Reservoir will soon be able to get a glimpse of the so far unexplored Bat Island, the island in the Mahanadi River that is home to over a thousand bats. The tour of the island is part of the “Hirakud Cruise” which will soon be launched by the State Government’s Forestry and Environment Department.
Bat Island is approximately 10 kilometers from the zero point of the Hirakud Dam and only one kilometer from the Debrigarh ecotourism. It takes a 20-minute boat trip from the zero point of the Hirakud Dam to reach the island, which is close to the village of Mahutalu and about 20 to 25 fishing families live in the village. In summer, when the water dries up, Mahultalu village connects to Bat Island and one can walk to the patch of land in the river.
A dense forest is found on the island where sunlight rarely reaches and there is darkness on the island even during the day. As bats are nocturnal and rest during the day in addition to avoiding sunlight, the island, which spans around 2 hectares, has become a nesting and resting place for hundreds of bats. The other reason why bats flock to the island is the serenity of the place. In addition, bats, which during the day rest on upside-down trees, also have a lot of prey on the island.
According to Anshu Pragyan Das, Divisional Forestry Officer (DFO), Hirakud Wildlife Division, forestry officials have recruited 12 fishing families for the conservation of the island. Eco-tourists can observe bats from a distance without causing disturbance accompanied by trained eco-guides once the “Island Odyssey” and “Hirakud Cruise” start at the Hirakud Dam Reservoir. Binoculars will be provided for tourists to observe the bats, she said.
Many villages in addition to farmland and hills were submerged after the construction of the Hirakud Dam. The place, which is called Bat Island, was a hill and it became an island after water surrounded it following the construction of the Hirakud Dam.

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