Orissa hosting world meet to save Irrawaddy dolphins

Orissa hosting world meet to save Irrawaddy dolphins

The two-day conference will be held in the Orissa capital. Dozens of research papers expected to be presented there are likely to help the authorities devise a better strategy for conservation of the sea specie, which is facing extinction.

"At least eight overseas participants from Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Japan have already arrived," Ajit Patnaik, chief executive of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA), told reporters.

CDA is organising the event in collaboration with the University of Tokyo, Japan. "At least 100 participants are expected to attend the workshop on conservation of the Irrawaddy dolphin with special reference to underwater acoustic studies," he said. The Chilika Lake, located in Orissa is home to more than 150 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. Its population in the world is estimated to be around 900.

The lake, some 100 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, is spread over Puri, Khordha and Ganjam districts. It is also home to the largest congregation of migratory birds in the country. "This would be the first international workshop on Irrawaddy dolphins in India," Patnaik said.

"Orissa has been chosen as the venue for the workshop as customised hydrophones developed by researchers from Tokyo University were first put to use in Chilika," he said. The hydrophone is a device to record the sounds of dolphins under water. "The hydrophones were extremely useful for observing the underwater behaviour of Irrawaddy dolphins," he said.

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