Orissa, Tokyo varsity ink deal for more studies on dolphins


Bhubaneswar: Orissa and Japan’s University of Tokyo inked an agreement Thursday to carry out more studies on the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin in the world famous Chilika lake located in the state, an official said.

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The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by senior officials of the state-run Chilika Development Authority (CDA) and the University of Tokyo on the sidelines of a two-day international conference on the dolphins that began here Thursday.

The University of Tokyo had earlier signed an MOU March 22, 2006 with CDA to develop an advanced underwater observation systems for the Irrawaddy dolphins, and to provide advanced technology and training for researchers.

As a part of this agreement customised hydrophones – a device to record the sounds of dolphins under water – developed by researchers from Tokyo University were first put to use in Chilika lake.

The hydrophones were extremely useful for observing the underwater behaviour of Irrawaddy dolphins.

The latest MOU was signed to carry out more studies on the species in the lake – which is home to more than 150 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. Its population in the world is estimated to be around 900.

“We signed the agreement to continue our collaboration for two more years,” Ajit Patnaik, chief executive of CDA, told IANS.

Chilika lake is located at a distance of about 100 km from state capital Bhubaneswar. It is spread over Puri, Khordha and Ganjam districts. It is also home to the largest congregation of migratory birds in the country.