Cassian Baliarsingh

The annual census of dolphins began in Odisha's Chilika Lake and Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, official sources said on Saturday. The annual Dolphin census in Chilika Lake began at 6 am today. The counting exercise will take place in Balugaon Wildlife Division and Balugaon Range in Chilika for three days.

According to sources, at least 18 teams including senior officials of the State Forest Department, wildlife experts, OUAT students, boat associates, CDA, and other volunteers have been roped in to conduct the census.

Each team comprises 8-10 people and experts. The teams have been equipped with modern gadgets and given exclusive training on videography, photography, binoculars, and GPS for counting. The census team will follow the standard way to ascertain the dolphin population.

The entire Chilika Lake has been divided into two sides for the dolphin census. One is the outer channel of Satapada while another is the southern and central sides. The dolphin count that began today is expected to continue for three days till January 23. 

At least 173 dolphins were found in the Chilika Lake last year. Out of the total number, 154 were Irrawaddy while another 19 were bottle-nose dolphins. The final count will be given by PCCF Bhubaneswar after the counting exercise.

Similarly, the dolphin census is also underway in Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary in Kendrapara district. The annual exercise is being conducted by 9 teams.


(Reported by Rabi Narayan Pujari, OTV)