Dolphin Population In Odisha Rises To 544

Bhubaneswar: The estimated dolphin population in Odisha Coast during the year 2021 has rose to 544. Last year the estimated population of dolphins was 233.

The Mangroves of Rajnagar Wildlife witnessed an increased estimation of 342 dolphins than 62 in year 2020. Chilika Wildlife also witnessed an increase with 188 dolphins than last year’s estimation of 163.

Three species of Dolphins have been recorded during this estimation exercise in the entire State i.e. Irrawaddy Dolphin, Bottle-nose Dolphin and Humpback Dolphin.

Based on the estimation for 2021, there are 544 Dolphins and Cetaceans of 3 (three) species in the State with 188 in Chilika lake, 342 in Rajnagar Wildlife, 4 in Puri Wildlife, 8 in Bhadrak Wildlife and 2 in Balasore Wildlife Division.

The annual population estimation of Dolphins and other Cetaceans in Odisha during 2020-21 was known from a letter from the Office Of The Principal CCF (Wildlife) & Chief Wildlife Warden, Odisha, to the  Addl. Chief Secretary to Government, Forest and Environment Department.

As per the letter, the population estimation exercise for Dolphins and other Cetacean species includes almost entire coast of Odisha where estimation has been carried out within a width of 1 Km from the sea beach using line transact at a distance of 500 metres from the beach and then recording the Dolphins sighted on either side of the line transact.

Every year in Chilika lake the estimation exercise is conducted under the supervision of DFO, Chilika Wildlife Division with active co-operation from Chilika Development Authority. Apart from Chilika, in rest of the coastal area, estimation of Dolphins and other Cetacean species number has also been conducted by the Forest Department in five Forest Divisions namely, Balasore, Bhadrak, Rajnagar, Puri and Berhampur Divisions.

During the current year 2021, Dolphins and other Cetacean species estimation was conducted on 17th January, 2021, but the Dolphin census could not be assessed properly due to disturbed weather condition and heavy fog during the census except for Bhadrak Wildlife Division only where the census operation could be conducted properly.

Hence, census dates was re-scheduled for other Divisions and it was decided to conduct the census on three dates i.e. on 29.01.2021, 05.02.2021 and 12.02.2021 and the day in which the best sighting figures will be reported will be accepted as the dolphin population estimation figure for the year 2021.

As many as 41 estimation units all along the coastline were established for the estimation exercise which included officials from Wildlife Organisation, Honorary Wildlife Wardens, Staff of coastal Divisions, officials from WWF-India State office, representative from NG0s, BNHS- Mumbai, Researchers & academicians from University and Colleges, Wildlife Society of Odisha, Researcher’s from Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Bhubaneswar, People for Animals, Chilika Development Authority, Officials from Animal Resource Development Department, Local NGOs, Members of local Motor Boat Associations, etc.

Here is the division-wise details of Dolphin population estimation report of this year vis-a-vis of previous year. 

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