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Irrawaddy dolphins
Feb 10, 2017

Why in news:

As many as 181 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins have been sighted in Odisha, according to a census carried out by the State Forest and Environment department.

  • The dolphin census in Odisha in 2016 was suspended because of lack of visibility due to cloudy weather, high wind speed and surging waves but researchers, government officials and wildlife enthusiasts took up the survey again this year.
  • Humpback dolphins (34), bottlenose dolphins (31) and five pantropical spotted dolphins were also sighted. This marks a significant drop from 2015, when survey teams recorded 450 dolphins.


  • They exists in small isolated populations around Southeast Asia. 
  • They are distributed in shallow, near-shore tropical and subtropical marine waters. 
  • They are primarily found in estuaries and semi-enclosed water bodies such as bays and sounds, usually close to mangrove forests. Freshwater populations occur in river systems.


Although the Irrawaddy dolphin is not directly exploited, it is exposed to incidental mortality in fisheries (e.g., gillnets in Australia and in Malampaya, explosives), the principal cause of depletion. Habitat degradation due to development of dams, deforestation and mining also continue to undermine the species to a lesser extent.



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