138 Irrawady Dolphins sighted in Chilika lake

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 27 (UNI) A latest census in Chilika Lake, the biggest brackish water lagoon in Asia, revealed that the lagoon has the largest population of 138 rare and endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins in the world.

The census was carried out by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) in collaboration with the University of Tokyo and National Research Institute of Fisheries Engineering, Japan besides the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Wildlife Wings of Orissa, yesterday.

Briefing newspersons on the outcome of the census, CDA Chief Executive Sudarshan Panda said for the first time in the world, the A-Tag Logger electronic sensors method, developed by the Japanese scientists was used along with the visual method for counting the dolphins.

He said the census revealed that the population of the Irrawaddy Dolphins had shown a marginal increase in the lake from 131 in 2006 and 135 in the last census to 138, indicating that the population of these aquatic mammals has almost stabilised in the lake.

Mr Panda said the sectorwise population of the dolphins in the lake showed that the outer channel had emerged as the most suitable habitat for the Irrawaddy with as many as 75 of them, including five calves, being sighted by the census team.

While 28 Dolphins were found in the southern sector of the Lake, the central sector recorded 35 and none was sighted in the northern sector, the CDA chief executive said.

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