Bhubaneswar, Feb 17 (IANS) The number of endangered Irrawaddy dolphins in Orissa’s Chilika Lake has increased to 158 from last year’s 146, an official said Wednesday.
The annual census of the Irrawaddy dolphins was carried out Tuesday and Wednesday in the lake, the chief executive of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) Ajit Patnaik told IANS.
The Chilika Lake, about 100 km from here, is spread over Puri, Khordha and Ganjam districts of the state and is home to the largest congregation of migratory birds in the country.
It was declared one of the six wetlands of international importance at the Ramsar Convention on migratory species of Arctic and Central Asian waterfowl.
Irrawaddy dolphins were first recorded in this lake in 1915. The annual census is being carried out in the lake from 2003 every February to monitor the status and number dynamics of the Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika.
‘The increase in the number can be attributed to the conservation initiative taken by the CDA and the state wildlife department for protection and conservation of the Irrawaddy dolphins in the lake’, Patnaik said.