Odisha Forest department to undertake Dolphin census on Jan 19

Kendrapara: After a five-year break, annual headcount exercise of dolphins inhabiting along brackish water bodies of the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary in Odisha will be held on January 19, a forest official said on Tuesday.

A survey of these animals is vital for the study of the growth pattern of the aquatic species living within these water bodies and shallow sea waters of this Ramsar international wetland site.

Equipped with binoculars, GPS set and rangefinder, nine teams comprising over 40 wildlife experts will conduct the dolphin census, said Bikash Ranjan Dash, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division.

Enumerators had sighted 270 dolphins in the sea and deltaic zones during the last census conducted in 2015.

A total of 58 Irrawaddy dolphins, 23 Bottlenose dolphins, 123 Sousa Chinensis, 50 Sousa Plumbera dolphins, 15 pantropical spotted dolphins and one Finless porpoise were found at that time.

Headcount of dolphins could not be undertaken during the past five years because of inclement weather and rough sea, the official said.

(PTI)

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