The Chilika lake in Odisha has emerged as the single largest habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins in the world with the spotting of 155 such animals, according to the Chilika Development Authority (CDA).
The first ever ‘Annual Monitoring’ was conducted by the CDA to count the number of the marine mammals and to study the hydrological impacts of removal of pen culture (locally known as gherries).
The dolphins are now seen in different sectors of the lake where they were not seen before due to removal of obstruction for their migration.
The number is more compared to the last year’s figure of around 100 dolphins during the annual census.
The monitoring also revealed that the lake houses around 0.9 million birds which is similar to the trend of the population over the years. No new species is identified during the monitoring.
The CDA official said Barunakuda and Krushnaprasad offered tremendous opportunity for eco-tourism due to congregation of the winter birds along these new areas. Some waders have already started leaving the lake, but other migratory birds have prolonged their stay mainly because of cool nights and increased available food in the lagoon.