Dolphin census in Odisha to analyze migrating behaviour of dolphins
- A three-day-long dolphin enumeration drive is being conducted from December 16 to 18 in Bhitarkanika Mangrove Wetland and Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary in Kendrapara in Odisha.
- The purpose of the census drive is to find out-migrating behavior of the dolphins.
Dolphin Census Drives
- In the census drive that will continue till December 18, the dolphins will, reportedly, be counted from the Dhamra estuary to the Devi estuary in the sea as well as into the river streams within Bhitarkanika.
- The State government's Department of Forest and Environment has been conducting the dolphin survey each year in the Bhitarkanika area since 2015.
- The census would provide basic information about the dolphins, their migratory behaviour and also help in planning for its conservation and protection.
- The population of Irrawaddy dolphin, an endangered dolphin species, inhabitant at the Chilika Lake, spotted only in Asia, increased to 188 in 2021, up from 163 in 2020.
- The sighting of this species in large numbers raised hopes for improvement.
- In 2018, the numbers of Irrawaddy dolphins were 155.
Dolphins in India
- The Government of India has been taking several initiatives for the protection and conservation of dolphins in India.
- This includes the opening of India's first research center in Patna for the Gangetic dolphins to Project Dolphin, exclusively meant for reviving the dolphin population.
- Officially discovered in 1801, the Ganga river dolphin once lived in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.
- Mostly blind, the Ganga river dolphin can only live in freshwater, hunts by emitting ultrasonic sounds.
- They are frequently found alone or in small groups.
- Their population is endangered with only 1,200–1,800 as per World Wildlife Organization.
- In India, these are sighted in deep rivers in Assam, Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and West Bengal.
- Declared as the National Aquatic Animal in 2009 by the Government of India, the Ganges river dolphin is an important and reliable indicator of the health of the entire river ecosystem.
- As per the Ministry of State for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, there are about 1,272 dolphins in Uttar Pradesh and 962 in Assam.
- The dolphin population faces the threat of overfishing, hunting for meat, and oil and the declining state of rivers and water bodies.
- Industrial, agricultural, and human activities have led to habitat degradation.