Tuesday, February 27, 2007

India has rising number of Irrawaddy dolphins

Bhubaneswar: Chilika lake in Orissa is now home to a total of 135 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, according to a study conducted by the Chilika Development Authority.

The findings of the survey indicated that the lagoon had 115 adult Irrawaddy dolphins, 15 dub-adults and five calves.

As many as 83 persons were involved in the annual survey that was conducted on February 20 by using a number of boats.

It was for the first that the annual dolphin census was conducted by using the global positioning system, according to Sudarshan Panda, chief executive officer of CDA.

A total of 131 dolphins were sighted in the lake during the census carried out in 2006. Eight dolphins were killed in the lake last year, according to the CDA authorities.

The change that was found in the latest study was that the dolphins were traced in different parts of the lagoon. The highest number of dolphins was sighted in the lake's outer channel that is connected to the Bay of Bengal.

According to the statistics available with the CDA, the Irrawaddy dolphin population in the world was around 1000 at present.

Despite a marginal increase in the population of the dolphins in Chilika, the species are constantly under threat from the thousands of boats plying in the lake for the purpose of fishing and ferrying of tourists.

A number of incidents have been reported in the past where the dolphins were killed by getting entangled in the fishing nets or being hit by the propellers of the tourist boats.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"