146 Irrawaddy dolphins sighted in Odisha’s Chilika

News:Recently,Odisha Forest Department has sighted 146 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika Lake.

Facts:

About Irrawaddy Dolphins:

  • Irrawaddy Dolphins(Orcaella Brevirostris) are oceanic dolphin found in brackish water near coasts, river mouths and estuaries in South and Southeast Asia.
  • Habitat:It extends from the Bay of Bengal to New Guinea and the Philippines.
  • They are found in three rivers namely The Irrawaddy (Myanmar), the Mahakam (Indonesian Borneo) and the Mekong.
  • Features:They have a bulging forehead and short beak.They pop out their head out of the water to breathe followed by its back.
  • Status:They are listed as Endangered under the IUCN Red list.
  • Population:The total population in the world is estimated to be less than 7,500.Of these,around 6,400 Irrawaddy dolphins have been reported from Bangladesh.
  • The dolphin distribution in Chilika is considered to be the highest single lagoon population.
  • Threat:They had been under stress in Chilika lake due to unregulated boating by tourists as well as illegal prawn enclosures.

Additional information:

About Chilika lake:

  • Chilika lake is the Asia’s largest brackish water lake.It is located at the Daya River flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
  • The lake is also the second largest coastal lagoon in the world after the New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia.
  • Chilika lake was also designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1981.
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