Scores of Dolphin Deaths in Chilika Baffle Locals

Puri: The recent rise in the number of dolphin deaths in Chilika lake has raised grave concerns with deaths of four dolphins already being reported so far this year. Locals, social workers and forest department officials have described the deaths as alarming.

According to dolphin census statistics, there were 134 dolphins in the year 2015 which went down to 121 in 2017. Considering the death rate, eight dolphin deaths were registered in 2015, six in 2017, five in 2018 and four deaths within the first two months of 2019.

While raising concerns over the deaths, experts are of the view that the movement of high-powered boats, dumping of petroleum products into the lake water and a considerable drop in the water level of the lakeare the main reasons behind the deaths of dolphins in the lake.

While tourists from far-flung areas visit Chilika, especially for dolphins, the rise in death of dolphinshas saddened the locals here, said a lecturer, Kashinath Nayak.

Prititosh Mohapatra, Brahmagiri Additional District Veterinary Officer, said: “We conducted post-mortem of three dead dolphins and came to conclusion that pneumonia might be the cause of death. Reduction in oxygen level, severe food shortage or micro-bacterial infection might also be the causes behind the deaths.”

Satpada Wildlife Range Officer, Manas Ranjan Mohapatra said, “The post-mortem reports of the dead dolphins revealed the reason as pneumonia. The higher authorities have already been informed and action will be taken as per their directives.”