Dolphin number 146, up from 113 last yr in Chilika | Bhubaneswar News

Bhubaneswar: As many as 146 dolphins were sighted in the Chilika during the annual dolphin census by the forest department on Sunday. “The exact number of adults and calves will be provided by the wildlife wing in a few days after a detailed analysis,” said Susanta Nanda, chief executive of Chilika Development Authority (CDA), here on Monday.
Only 113 dolphins were sighted in the lagoon last year against 162 dolphins in 2018.
Motorised boats were prohibited on the day of census work. Eighteen teams were deployed. Binoculars with GPS tracking systems were used for the first time in counting dolphins, forest official sources said. Result of dolphin census indicated population of 150+ for the first time in the Chilika. “Clear colonisation of newer areas gives hope for the future, Nanda tweeted. He said “This is only a vet estimate of CDA done round the year by using hydrophone. CDAs estimated population range was 133 to 172,” he added.
During their estimation through hydrophone, the CDA found these aquatic mammals at Magarmukh, Jahnikuda, Mahisa, Rajhans, Nalabana, Kalijugeswar, Malatikuda, Pathara, Samal Island, Kalijai Island, INS Chilika, Krishnaprasad Gada Jetty and Satapada Jetty.
The fresh census revealed that mammals are moving towards new areas in central and southern sectors near Kalijai island and Rambha areas. These areas were made free from prawn gheries, official sources said. Nanda said all pen cultures inside the lake have been removed. “CDA has reclaimed 160+ sq km of encroached area in the last two years. Thats almost 15% of the lake. Increased bird and dolphin population is mainly attributed to that,” he said, adding, “We can say the population is likely to increase in the next couple of years.

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