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Chilika has 22% of India’s sea grass area: Survey

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    16th Jan, 2021


  • During the flora and fauna monitoring of Chilika, five species of sea grasses were reported which is about 22% of India’s sea grass area.

The Survey

  • The annual survey was conducted by ‘Transact Survey Method’ followed worldwide for population of aquatic mammals.
  • The following seagrass species were recorded during the survey:
    • Holodule uninervis
    • Holodule pinifolia
    • Halophila ovalis
    • Halophila ovata
    • Halophila beccarii
  • This occurs over an area of 155 sq. km., an increase from 152 sq. km. of last year.
  • Seagrasses are the flowering plants which grow in marine 
  • The name seagrass stems from the many species with long and narrow leaves, which grow by rhizome extension.
  • Seagrasses photosynthesize, in the submerged photic zone, and most occur in shallow and sheltered coastal waters anchored in sand or mud bottoms.
  • They function as important carbon sinks and provide habitats and food for a diversity of marine life comparable to that of coral reefs.

Other key-highlights of the Survey

  • Around 156 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins were spotted in Chilika.
  • A total of 12,42,000 birds of 105 water bird species, and 26,405 birds of 76 wetland dependent species, were counted from the entire lagoon.

Irrawaddy dolphins

  • Irrawaddy dolphins are protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.
  • It is enlisted in the endangered list of IUCN conservation.
  • It is not a true river dolphin, but an oceanic dolphin that lives in brackish water near coasts, river mouths, and estuaries.
  • It is found in Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Burma and Thailand.
  • Irrawaddy dolphins are more susceptible to human conflict than most other dolphins that live farther out in the ocean.

Chilika Lake

  • Chilika Lake is a brackish waterlagoon, spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state on the east coast of India.
  • It is situated at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
  • It is the largest coastal lagoon in India.
  • Chilika is Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon.
  • Chilika is considered to have highest single lagoonal population of the aquatic mammal in the world.
  • It has been listed as a tentative UNESCOWorld Heritage
  • The Irrawaddy dolphinis the flagship species of Chilika lake.
  • Chilika is home to the only known population of Irrawaddy dolphins in Indiaand one of only two lagoons in the world that are home to this species.