Dolphin census begins in Odisha’s Bhitarkanika

Kendrapara: The Forests and Environment Department today began counting dolphins in Bhitarkanika under Rajnagar block in Kendrapara district.

The annual dolphin census will be conducted in the sea between Dhamara and Devi River mouth as well as in the rivers and creeks within Bhitarkanika mangrove wetland, informed the forest department.

As many as nine teams have been constituted for the headcount in Bhitarkanika.

Forest official source said the counting will be carried out under guidance of researcher Dr Muntaz Khan. Each team comprises 3-5 forest and wildlife experts. While 5 teams will be engaged for counting in the sea, 4 teams will conduct the counting in rivers and creeks.

A day before counting began, the officials were imparted training on species identification, sighting and recording on Saturday to facilitate the census.

Worth mentioning that as many as five species of dolphins — Irrawaddy, Bottle Nose, Hump Back, Finless Porpoise and Gangetic — are sighted off the coast along Bhitarkanika.

These will also be counted to see if the dolphins of Risso’s and Spinner species are seen off the coast. It has been reported that whales will be counted if they are found during the offshore count.

Earlier, the dolphin census was conducted in the Chilika lagoon. Dolphins have been counted in Bhitarkanika in last five years, according to a decision by the State Forests and Environment Department.



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