Dolphin Boom in Chilika Lake of Odisha

13 April 2021 Current Affairs:In the recent aquatic survey of Lake Chilika, the population of dolphins has surged. The Irrawaddy dolphin is the iconic species of Chilika, and its population has increased from 146 to 162 this year.
The populations of other dolphin species, namely humpback dolphin (IUCN status: endangered) and bottlenose dolphin (IUCN status: Near Threatened) are also increasing. In this survey, about 544 dolphins made up these three species.

Irrawaddy dolphins:
♦ There are five isolated populations of freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins: In Myanmar, they live on the Ayeyarwady River (also known as the Irrawaddy River). In Borneo, they live on the Mahakam River; in Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, they live on the Mekong; in India, they live on Lake Chilika; in Thailand, they live on Lake Songkhla .
♦ These dolphins have protruding foreheads, short beak tips, and 12-19 teeth on both sides of their jaws.
♦ IUCN status: Endangered
♦ After the opening of the Chilika seaport in 2002 and the consequent increase in water depth, dolphins were reported to have been recorded in more areas of the lake than before, which may indicate that suitable habitats have expanded.

Chilika Lake:
It is the largest saltwater lagoon in Asia, located on the coast of Orissa. It is found throughout the Khurda, Ganjam and Puri regions of Orissa. It is the largest wintering ground for migrating waterfowl on the Indian subcontinent. Lake Chilika is designated as the Ramsar Site, a wetland of international importance. According to the Wild Animals (Protection) Act of 1972, Naraban Island in the lake was designated as a bird sanctuary.

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