Chilika Lake And Irrawaddy Dolphins

Why is it in News?

An expert panel has recently cited that highway projects in Odisha are threatening the birds, Olive Ridley Turtles etc. in the Chilika range vicinity.

About Chilika Lake:

  • It is the largest brackish water lagoon lake in India and second in the world.
  • It is located in Odisha at the mouth of River Daya flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
  • It was the first lake to be listed under Ramsar convention.
  • Chilika Lake is highly productive as it is an excellent example of Mangrove Ecosystem.
  • Nalbana Bird Sanctuary is present in the core area of Chilika Lake.
  • In a recent survey, Chilika Lake emerged as the single largest habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins in the world.

About the Nalbana Bird Sanctuary:

  • Nalbana Bird Sanctuary or Nalbana Island is the core area of the Ramsar designated wetlands of Chilika Lake. It was declared a bird sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • ‘Nalbana’ in Odia means weed covered and this bird sanctuary appears due to accumulation of weeds in the post monsoon season and disappears during the monsoon season. The availability of shallow water and abundance of prey attracts the birds and is the largest breeding ground for Flamingo’s in the world.

About Irrawaddy Dolphins:

  • Irrawaddy Dolphin is a Euryhaline species which is listed under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as well as the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).
  • Irrawaddy Dolphins are found in Bay of Bengal Region, South East Asia (Mekong River Belt) etc. It is considered as a sacred species by Khmer & Lao people.
  • It is listed ‘Endangered’ as per the IUCN Red List.

What is a Euryhaline Species?

Euryhaline Species are those species which adapt to a wider and varying range of salinity, e.g.- the species that lives in estaury, creeks etc. as due to variation in flow of fresh water salinity of these ecosystem continuously changes.

Source: Down to Earth, TH, IE