Rajnagar: The annual census of dolphins began Thursday in water bodies of Bhitarkanika National Park and Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary under Rajnagar forest division in Kendrapara district.
An official source said that state Forest and Environment department has formed nine separate teams, constituting total 29 members, for the purpose of counting dolphins. The teams have been equipped with binoculars, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) handsets, cameras and handycams. The nine teams began annual census at 6.00am.
The three-day drive will continue till December 18. Counting of the dolphins will be carried out in waterbodies starting from the sea mouth at Dhamra to Devi River mouth. The teams were trained Wednesday at Gupti by Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Yajnadatta Pati, Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) Biranchi Narayan Samal and Head of Zoology Department Siba Prasad Parida, the source added.
Dolphin counting will be extensively carried out from Outer Wheeler up to Chinchiri mouth, from Barunei up to Paradip, from Hansina bridge up to Maipura mouth, from Hansua river in Rajnagar up to Khola, from Dhamra mouth up to Khola via Nalita Patia, from Kalibhanjadian and Jambu Kharanasi up to Hukitola, from Jatadhara mouth up to Paradip and from Devi River mouth up to Jatadhara mouth. Five teams will count in the sea and four others in rivers and creeks, the official said.
It is pertinent to mention, Odisha had 62 dolphins as per 2020 census, which was a drop in the population of the aquatic animal.