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Sharmili Mallick

Bhubaneswar: The annual headcount exercise of dolphins inhabiting in the backwaters of Chilika Lake began on Sunday.

Official sources said, 18 teams comprising 109 officials from forest department, Chilika Development Authority (CDA), WWF, Motor Boat Association, representatives of several NGOs and students of Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT) have been engaged for the enumeration of Irrawaddy dolphins at Chilika, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon.

The teams began the annual census at 6 am and the exercise continued till 12 pm. The teams carried out the enumeration using GPS sets, binoculars, sophisticated cameras and rangefinder.

"The annual survey was conducted by parallel line and transact survey methods. While 10 teams of experts conducted the counting in Balugaon area, the remaining 8 teams were engaged for the counting in Satapada area," informed Satapada Ranger Manash Mahapatra.

As many as 146 dolphins were sighted in Chilika during the annual census in 2020. While 113 dolphins were sighted in 2019, 162 were spotted in 2018 and 123 in 2017, said reports.

Earlier in January this year, the forest officials had spotted 12,04,351, to be exact, migratory birds from across 111 species during the annual bird census.

(Edited By Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)


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