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156 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins sighted at Chilika lake

This year there was a total sighting of 156 numbers of these species, enjoying protection under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

Chilika, the largest brackish water lake along India’s eastern coast, has re-established itself as an ideal habitat for Irrawaddy dolphins.

As per the findings of the Flora and Fauna survey carried out by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) on February 1, the brackish water lake is home to around 156 Irrawaddy dolphins.

This year there was a total sighting of 156 numbers of these species, enjoying protection under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. These species also figure in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

A good amount of sightings was observed in the Rambha Bay area along with the Outer Channel of the lake.

Irrawaddy dolphin is the flagship species inhabiting Chilika Lake. The present distribution range of this species is only in Asia, from Chilika to Indonesia.

The Dolphins are colonizing new areas of Chilika Lagoon and this gives hope for this endangered mammal. The movement has been facilitated by clearing of gherries (earthen dykes) at places.

The annual survey of dolphins was conducted by the “Transact Survey Method” followed worldwide for a population of aquatic mammals. Each survey team was equipped with binoculars, GPS, Range finder and data recording sheets, added the officials.