Bhubaneswar, February 27: Swaying the illustrious beauty of encompassing marine attraction, Chilika Lake in Odisha has developed as the single largest habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins in the world with the spotting of 155 such animals.
Chilika Development Authority, Susanta Nanda said, the number is more compared to the last year's figure of around 100 dolphins during the annual census. The dolphins are now seen in different sectors of the lake where they were not seen before due to the removal of obstruction for their migration.
The Annual Monitoring was conducted by the Authority to count the number of the marine mammals and to study the hydrological impacts of removal of pen culture. This year’s census by Wildlife Wing has put the number of Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika lagoon at 114. The enumeration was conducted on January 19 across six coastal divisions of the State where the total number of dolphins was found to be 469, including 163 Irrawaddy dolphins.
While Chilika lagoon was found to be home to 114 of them, as many as 45 were spotted in Rajnagar Mangrove division. Irrawaddy dolphins are known to prefer estuaries and brackish water systems which explain their thriving habitat at Bhitarkanika. In Balasore, four of this species were detected.
Apart from Irrawaddies, the estimation found a growing number of dolphins from other species. In 2015, the total dolphin population stood at 450 with the number of bottlenose estimated at 52 but this year, it has grown to 121. Of them, 92 were sighted in Bhitarkanika, 12 in Chilika, five in Puri Wildlife Division and 11 in Berhampur divisions.