Dolphin population rises to 152 in Chilika

Bhubaneswar: Good news for wildlife lovers. The population of Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika, Asia's the largest brackish water lake has increased by 4.6 per cent compared to last year's census.

"Irrawaddy dolphin population of Chilika lagoon is estimated to be 152 comprising 118 adults, 16 sub-adults and 18-calves & neonates," Ajit K Patnaik, the chief executive of Chilika Development Authority (CDA) said on Tuesday.

As per estimation carried out in 2013 there had been an increase in population by 4.6 per cent compared to last year, he said adding the number of dolphins last year was 145.

The number of calves and neonates observed during the survey carried out recently is 18. A significant observation of 2013 population estimation was the sighting of dolphins in Northern sector. Eight dolphins were sighted from Northern sector, an indication of expansion of their habitat, he said.

Another significant observation is the increase in the number of calves and neonates, which is 38.9 per cent increase over the last years figure.

Chilika, about 70 km from here, is the natural abode of highly endangered Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris). The present distribution range of this species is only in Asia – from Chilika to Indonesia within South East Asia and South Asia.

The total population of these animals in the world is estimated to be less than 7500 (highest 6400 reported from Bangladesh) and the population in Chilika is considered to be the highest single lagoonal population, Patnaik said.

A number of organisations, including state's forest department, were engaged in the population survey which was carried out following line Transect method.