Odisha Sees Sharp Fall In Dolphin Count

A recent census for aquatic mammals, conducted by the State’s Forest and Environment Department has brought to light a sharp decline in the number of dolphins across Odisha. Their number has plunged from 469 in 2018 to 259 this year. The census was carried out on January 19, and the report was presented on February 14

The census covered important aquatic ecosystems in the state. Some of these include Chilika lake, the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary and its nearby areas within the Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district, Balasore district and the mouth of the Rushukulya river in Ganjam district.

The report concluded that the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary was home to most of Odisha’s dolphins, with the count at 126. Chilika came a close second, with the census count pegged at 113, followed by the Rushukalya river in Ganjam with 15, and Balasore at 5. Primarily, three intra-dolphin varieties were spotted: the Irrawaddy (130), Bottlenose (16) and Humpback (116).

The decline in dolphin numbers points to the staggering effects of climate-induced change. Marine mammals directly bear the brunt of such imbalances in the climate. However, a possibility exists that dolphins might have migrated to the deep sea, as the census is only conducted till a maximum of ten kilometres from the coastline.