Cyclone FANI effect: Four new mouths opened in Odisha’s Chilika

Puri: The ecosystem in Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, is likely to be affected with opening up four new mouths due to extremely severe cyclonic storm FANI that devastated coastal Odisha districts including Puri.

Four new mouths were created due to strong winds after Cyclone FANI made landfall at Krushnaprasad area of Puri district on May 3.

Three new mouths were opened between the two functional mouths near Sanpatna and Arakhakuda and a smaller mouth was found on the Lake’s northen part, said an official in the Chilika Development Authority (CDA).

With four new mouths in Chilika, the salinity has increased in the water that could pose a threat to a large group of aquatic animals as huge amount of sea water from the Bay of Bengal is entering into the Lake.

“We are studying the impact of saline ingression into the lake and monitoring its salinity level at different stations,” said CDA Chief Executive Susanta Nanda.

The mouths have been created naturally and may ultimately merge with two active mouths, he said.

Meanwhile, the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins are no more visible after the FANI in Chilika.

The salinity in water will not put any impact on dolphins as they can survive in saltwater. They might be under stress due to the wave energy with high tidal prism caused by the cyclone, Nanda said.

The dolphins might have moved to the deep water of Chilika. Also, their migration to the sea could not be ignored, he added.

Worth mentioning, Chilika is a mixture of saline and fresh water. The increase in salinity in the lake may damage its ecosystem.

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