- Conservation related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Dolphins in India- types and IUCN status, highlights of the census, need for protection.
Context: Annual Dolphin census was recently carried out in Odisha by the state’s forest and environment department.
The census covered important aquatic ecosystems in the state including the Chilika lake, India’s largest brackish water lagoon, spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts, 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.
Population declined from 469 in 2018 to 259 this year. The reduction in the number of dolphins compared to last year could be due to the migration of species from the Chilika Lake and other water bodies to the deep sea.
Gahirmatha is the home of the state’s largest dolphin population, having 126 animals. More dolphins were found in Gahirmatha than Chilika due to its bigger areas.
After Gahirmatha, Chilika had the next largest population at 113, followed by the Rushukulya River in Ganjam district, with 15 dolphins and finally, Balasore, with 5 individuals.
The dolphin species sighted during the state-wide census included the Irrawaddy, the Bottle Nose and the Humpback.
Dolphins have been included in Schedule I of the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972, in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), in Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and categorised as ‘Endangered’ on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.
Sources: down to earth.