The Chilika lake has 155 numbers of endangered Irrawaddy dolphins

  • According to the latest Annual Monitoring, which was conducted on 24 February, the Chilika lake in Odisha has the largest habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins in the world.
  • The first Annual Monitoring of 2018 says that ‘155 numbers of endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, the flagship species of Chilika Lake was spotted during monitoring making Chilika the single largest habitat of this species in the world. This compares favorably with 152 dolphins sighted by Wildlife Wing during the annual census of
    the current year. However, the number of sighting is more compared to the last year sighting of around 100 dolpdhins during the annual census. The range of population is tagged between 145-160.’
  • This year’s increased number will boost the ongoing conservation project and efforts of the authorities.
  • As per the authorities, dolphins are now seen in different sectors of the lake where they were not seen before due to the removal of obstruction for their migration.
  • Annual Monitoring was conducted by the Authority to count the number of the marine mammals and to study the hydrological impacts of removal of pen culture.

About Irrawaddy dolphins

  • As per the IUCN red list, Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) has been listed as ‘endangered’ species.
  • Dolphins of the genus Orcaella were split into two species by Beasley et al. (2002, 2005), the Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) and the Snubfin Dolphin (O. heinsohni).
  • The species gets its common name from the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar, where it is also found.
  •  The total population of these species in the world is estimated to be less than 7,500. Of these, the highest — 6,400 — was reported from Bangladesh.
  • The population in Chilika is considered to be the highest single lagoonal population.

What is pen culture?

  • Pen culture and Cage culture is related to fish farming.
  • According to the UN-FAO, a Pen is defined as “a fixed enclosure in which the bottom is the bed of the water body”. Pen is to be distinguished from the Cage culture which in turn is defined as “an enclosure with bottom and sides of netting or bamboo etc., whether floating at the surface or totally submerged.” The word ‘pen’ here is also used synonymous with ‘enclosure’ as it is used in enclosure culture.

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