Odisha government released final data on Dolphin-count
The Chilika Development Authority and the State Wildlife Corps recently conducted an annual dolphin census in Chilika Lake. According to the report of this census, the total number of Irrawaddy dolphin in the lake in 2021 has increased from 146 to 162.
- Chilka Lake is the largest salt water lake in India. The dolphin population here has doubled this time compared to last year.
- During the dolphin census, the number of its three species, Irrawaddy, bottlenose and humpback dolphin, has been recorded at 544 as against 233 in the year 2019-20.
Reasons for the increase in the population of Irrawaddy dolphins:
- The main reason for the increase in the population of Irrawaddy dolphin is the continuous enforcement of Chilika Development Authority and strict steps taken by the Authority against encroachment in Chilika Lake.
- It is known that around 25,223 hectares in the lake were under illegal prawn gheries. Since 2018, the Chilika Development Authority has freed 15,163 hectares of land from encroachment.
- The Odisha high court has ordered the state to initiate the demolition of illegal prawn farms in Chilika Lake in order to restore the ecology of the wetlands.
- In addition, illegal fishing enclosures were also removed, as well as tourism restrictions in, 2020 due to COVID-19 provided a safer place to dolphins.
- It is to be known that since 2018, Chilika has become the largest habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins globally since the year 2018, due to the increase in the number of Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika Lake.
- Dolphins are endangered species, protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 as ‘threatened whale species’.
- The Irrawaddy dolphin (Oracle brevirostris – Orcaellabrevirostris), is a beautiful mammal of the Euryhaline species, found near ocean shores and in estuaries and rivers.
- Two species of it are found – Irrawaddy dolphin and snub-fin-dolphin. The Irrawaddy dolphin is listed in the endangered category of International Nature Conservation Association (IUCN) Red List.
- These dolphins are mainly found in the coastal areas of South and Southeast Asia, and in three rivers: Irrawaddy (Myanmar), Mahakam River (Indonesian Borneo) and Mekong River (China).
Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin:
- It is also known as Chinese White Dolphin or Pink Dolphin, its skin is yellow in color.
- It is found in the highest density in the estuaries around the southwest of China to south-east Asia and from the west of China to the Bay of Bengal.
- It also inhabits coastal areas of India, Northern Australia, South China, the Red Sea and the east coast of Africa.
- The Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin in the “Vulnerable” category.
Indian Ocean humpback dolphin
- These dolphins usually live in shallow, coastal waters. They are black or dark brown in their youth and then as they get older their color becomes light brown.
- The Indian Ocean Humpback dolphin is found in Indian Ocean, between South Africa to India. It is placed in endangered category of the IUCN Red Data List.
- The Indian humpback dolphin is also listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species- CITES, an endangered species of wildlife and flora.
Wild Life Protection Act,1972
- To protect the country’s wildlife in India, the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 has been enacted with the objective of controlling the illegal trade and illegal poaching of wildlife.
- Its purpose is to provide protection to the listed endangered flora and fauna and important protected areas for the environment.
Source – The Hindu