Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 12:
The Forest and Environment department today began the enumeration of dolphins along the Odisha coast and Chilika Lake.
Chilika Development Authority (CDA)and Chilika forest division are jointly conducting the census in Satapada and Chilika Lake in which as many as 18 teams have been engaged for the headcount of the aquatic mammal, sources said.
Besides, officials of the department will conduct the dolphin census from Udaypur coast in Balasore district to Patsonpur coast in Ganjam district. Officials of Balasore, Bhadrak, Rajnagar, Puri, Chilika and Berhampur forest divisions are participating in the dolphin census, sources added.
Experts from Wildlife Wing, WWF India, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), CDA, volunteers and NGOs take part in the enumeration.
Notably, the number of Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika Lake is on the decline over the years.
While 156 dolphins were found in 2011, the number came down to 145 in 2012. However, in 2013 there was a marginal rise in their number with 152 and 157 in 2014.
The first ever census of dolphins along the coasts of Odisha was conducted last year.
Earlier, the census was limited to Chilika and Bhitarkanika. However, the survey was conducted off the coast in Bhadrak, Balasore, Berhampur and Puri from last year.
It may be mentioned that Chilika is home to Irrawaddy dolphins. Whereas, varieties of dolphins like Bottlenose, Humpback, Irrawaddy and Gangetic are found along the Odisha coast.