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Dolphin population drops marginally at Chilika Lake

Staff Reporter

BHUBANESWAR: Population of Irrawady dolphin in Chilika Lake, the largest brackish water lagoon in the country, has decreased marginally with Chilika Development Authority announcing result of annual census of 2011 of this endangered aquatic animal.

“There has been minor decrease in the number of dolphins as compared to the census figures of past year. As per the census 131 adult, 21 sub-adult and 4 calves of Irrawaddy dolphin totalling to 156 Individuals were recorded from the lake this year against 158 in 2010,” said CDA Chief Executive Ajit Pattnaik.

The Chilika lagoon is the natural abode of highly endangered Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris). The lake boasts of housing the highest lagoonal population.

The annual population estimation survey of Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika lagoon was scheduled to be held on February 10 and 11 but due to higher Beaufort (caused by high velocity of wind) the survey was suspended till February 15 and 16, CDA sources said.

Equipped with binoculars, GPS set, VHF sets, rangefinder and data recording sheets, as many as 66 participants from different organisations such as the Director, Environment, officials from the State Watershed Mission, OSDMA, BNHS, Mumbai, Regional Museum of Natural History, Bhubaneswar, Centre for Environment Education Bhubaneswar, Researchers and academicians from the University and colleges and Wildlife Society of Orissa, had taken part in the census. In addition, 40 local volunteers were deployed in 18 boats.

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