Balugaon/Brahmagiri: The annual census of dolphins living along water bodies of brackish Chilika Lake started Sunday morning at around 6.00am and will continue till 12.00 noon.
A source informed that the entire Chilika lake region has been divided into four sectors such as outer, inner, northern and southern. Separate teams of experts will conduct a comprehensive counting of dolphins including the Irrawaddy species.
Eighteen teams comprising senior forest officials, wildlife experts and scientists from OUAT in Bhubaneswar have been engaged to carry out the dolphin headcount drive at Chilika and its nearby areas under Satapada and Balugaon wildlife divisions.
As many as eight teams are from Satapada division and 10 teams are from Balugaon division, the source added.
Each team consists of five members and has been equipped with advanced GPS, binoculars, cameras and handycams, which will follow parallel line traffic survey method including the traditional.
Notably, the annual dolphin census was previously being conducted under the active supervision of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA). For the last two years, the exercise is being carried out jointly by CDA and Forest Department officials.
Chilika is home to endangered Irrawaddy species of dolphins. It is the single largest habitat of slow-swimming dolphins in the world. The aquatic mammal was named after Irrawaddy river in Myanmar, where they were first sighted.