Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The annual census of dolphins inhabiting along brackish water bodies of Chilika lake began on Wednesday. The annual exercise started at 6 am and will continue till 2 pm. 

As per official sources, 18 teams comprising senior officials of the State Forest department and wildlife experts have been roped in to conduct the dolphin census at Chilika. As many as three to six members have been deployed in each team.

Local volunteers and members of Motor Boat Association are also involved in the annual exercise which will be carried on for three days.

Boat ferrying in the lake has been prohibited till 2 pm today to facilitate smooth census work. The annual exercise is being done with the help of photography, modern technology like GPS tracking and other traditional methods.

The wildlife experts are tracking the movement of dolphins with binoculars for the annual headcount exercise of dolphins inhabiting along brackish water bodies of Chilika lake.

The entire Chilika lagoon has been divided into several sectors- outer and inner Chilika, northern and southern zones for a comprehensive count of the Irrawaddy dolphins by the experts’ team.

“The census exercise in Chilika started in 2015. We could know the numbers and types of dolphins living in Chilka from the exercise. The Forest Division has also organised awareness meetings about dolphins this year which is a welcome step,” said environmentalist Biraja Pati.