Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rajnagar, Jan 18:
Annual census of dolphins in Bhitarkanika National Park and the stretch of sea between Dhamra river mouth and Devi river mouth in the Bay of Bengal will begin from Friday (January 20) this year, Forest department sources said.
Earlier, dolphins were counted only in Chilika Lake. Following a decision of the Forest and Environment department of the state government counting of dolphins is being undertaken in Bhitarkanika, Puri, Berhampur, Bhadrak, Balasore, and Baripada since 2015.
For the first-time ever in 2015 counting of dolphins was undertaken in stretches from Bhitakanika’s outer wheel to Chinchiri mouth, Barunei to Paradip, Hansina bridge to Maipura mouth, Rajnagar Hansua river to Khola, Khola to Dhamra river mouth via Nalitapatia and Kalibhanjadia, Jambu Kharinasi to Hukitola, Paradip to Jatadhar river mouth and Devi river mouth to Jatadhar.
During the census 270 dolphins were sighted. Out of them 58 were of the Irrawaddy variety, 123 were from the Bottlenose variety, 50 from the Humpback variety, 15 from the Pantropical variety and one from the Finless Porpoise variety.
While in Chilika Lake only Irrawaddy dolphins are seen six varieties were seen in Bhitarkanika.
Though last year the census was scheduled to be held on February 12, the exercise had to be suspended due to bad weather.