The Chilika Lake in Odisha has also turned out to be a safe refuge for rare “Irrawaddy dolphins” since emerging as the favorite destination of migratory birds. In 2020, the population of dolphins rose to 156 in comparison to previous years. The flagship species inhabiting Chilika Lake is the Irrawaddy dolphins.
The annual count of the dolphin population was performed by a total of 18 teams for around six hours. While 10 teams of experts conducted the counting in the Balugaon region and 8 teams were engaged in the counting in the Satapada , restrictions were also placed on the visit of tourists to the lake.
A bird census conducted on January 5, 2021 also announced that out of 105 water bird species and 26,405 individuals, out of 76 wetland-dependent species, a total of 12,42,000 individuals were counted from the entire lagoon. The bird survey also showed that the number of waders around the lake has risen compared to the census date. After a long gap, Lesser Flamingo, Ferruginous Pochard and common Shelduck were encountered.