Thanks to over a month-long initiative in
evicting the squatters from the tranquil water of Chilika Lake, Irrawaddy
Dolphins have returned back to their congenial habitat in Rambha after a
The encroachment in the form of prawn
dykes in the midst of the water-body had taken a toll on the smooth movement of
itinerant aquatic animals. The re-sighting of threatened dolphins following
three decades in the wake of dismantling of prawn enclosures has made it ample
clear, said officials.
The World Wide Fund (WWF) for nature
representatives have successfully captured dolphins lurking in the water in
frozen frame. Four Irrawaddy dolphin species have been re-sighted. It augurs
well for the aquatic animal kingdom of Chilika, said CDA Chief Executive
There is every possibility that more
aquatic species including the Irrawaddy Dolphins would re-sighted in coming
days because of the encroachment-free habitation corridors.
Chilika, much acclaimed as Asia’s largest
brackish water lake, was subjected to wanton prawn dyke enclosures. Human
interference in the form of illegal prawn enclosures (gheries) had choked the
vast expanse of the water body. The hindrances were coming in the way of
unhindered movement of aquatic species. With major chunk of the lake now freed
from encroachment, dolphins have found newer avenues for hassle-free movement,
The dolphins have been re-sighted in
Rambha. It was way back in the late eighties, these delicate aquatic animals
could be spotted along the brackish water lake. The re-sighting could only be
made possible due to eviction drive undertaken to make the
lake-encroachment-free, he said.
The lake traverses through Ganjam, Khurda
and Puri district. The eviction drive is nearing closure in Ganjam and Puri
district. The eviction drive would be further intensified in a phased manner
next week. CDA has already cleared 4,000 hectares encroached area. Though drive
has been carried out protest-free with wholehearted support from government
agencies, much more remains to be done as the satellite imageries have captured
14,590 hectares areas under money-spinning prawn cultivation.
The dolphins had disappeared from Rambha
area of the lake due to prawn enclosure induced obstructions. Now it will be an
ideal habitat for these aquatic species.
The brackish water lagoon had recorded a
marginal drop in the population of Irrawaddy dolphins from 144 in 2015 to 134
this year. The Irrawaddy species has been accorded endangered status because of
dwindling population. Globally the number of Irrawaddy species found stands at
around 7,500. Chilika is incidentally home to the highest single
lagoonal population of Irrawaddy Dolphins.