bhitarkanika national park Current Affairs - 2020

Report says Dolphins of Odisha’s Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary has halved

The Forest Department of the Odisha State Government conducted a census at Chilika lake to count the number of dolphins at Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary in Odisha. The Sanctuary is a part of Bhitarkanika National Park of Odisha. The report was released in February 24, 2020.

Highlights

According to the report, the dolphin count came down to 233 in 2020 from 259 in 2019. At the census, 60 Irawaddy Dolphins and only two bottle nose dolphins were spotted. In 2019, the officials had spotted 14 Irawaddy Dolphins and 14 bottle nose dolphins.

About the Census

The Dolphin Census at the Garimatha Marine Sanctuary was held for the first time in 2015. It was cancelled in 2016 and 2017 due to bad weather.

Chilika Lake and the dolphins

Chilika lake is a Ramsar Site. This year as the prawn Gherries were dismantled, the dolphins were spread all over the lake. Dolphins are listed in Schedule I of Indian Wildlife (Protection) act 1972. The IUCN red list categorizes Dolphins as Endangered.

Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park Census: Increase in Salt Water Crocodiles

According to the recent census at the Bhitarkanika National Park, the population of salt water (or estuarine) crocodiles have increased to 1,757 as compared to 1,742 in 2018.

Highlights

The peak winter is the ideal time to carry out the census as it exposes more than 50% of mud banks. Around 22 teams were formed to count the crocodiles in the creeks and rivers in the park and its surrounding area. The teams sited 620 hatchlings, 288 juveniles, 325 yearlings, 185 sub adults and 339 adults. The crocodile count in the park has been increasing gradually. According to the census, in 2000, there were 1,192 crocodiles in the park.

In August 2019, the Bhitarkanika National Park reported that 3,000 crocodiles were born from 103 nests. The chances of baby crocodiles reaching adulthood is very less. Only one in 500 baby crocodiles reach adulthood.

The IUCN status of salt water crocodile is Least Concern.

Bhitarkanika National Park

The Park obtained the status of Ramsar site in 2002. It was the second area to get the status after Chilika lake. The Park is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India.

The Fauna of the park includes saltwater crocodile, black ibis, Indian Python, wild boar, cobra, darter, monitor lizard, etc. The park holds Guinness World Record of spotting largest male salt water crocodile in the world that weighed 2,000 kg in 2006.