The annual census of dolphins has got underway in Bhitarkanika national park and Gahirmatha marine sanctuary areas.
Nine teams comprising about 40 wildlife experts are conducting the headcount of these mammals. It will be a three-day exercise. Each team is equipped with binoculars, GPS set, rangefinder and data recording sheets for a foolproof headcount of these species, said forest officials.
The enumerators are covering the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, Dhamara coast, estuaries in Bhitarkanika, Hukitola, Paradip and Kujang coast. The enumerators travelled by water to cover salt-water creeks in outer wheelers’, Chinchini river mouth, Barunei river mouth, Jatadhari river mouth, Devi river mouth, Dhamra, Kajalapatia, Nalitapatia, Khola, Kalibhanjadiha, Jamboo, Kharinasi, Hukitola areas.
Irrawaddy, humpback dolphin, and bottlenose dolphins, Pantropical spotted dolphins had earlier been sighted during the census of these animals in the past years.
Incidentally, 307 dolphins were spotted in 2018. It dropped down to 126 in 2019. The downslide goes unabated as the number of dolphins counted in 2020 was found out to be 62 only.