Odisha renews effort to revive Gharial population

Odisha has renewed its effort to revive population of gharials in their natural habitat by releasing 5 reptiles, fitted with radio transmitters, into Satkosia gorge of Mahanadi which is the southernmost limit of gharials’ home range in India.

About Gharial

Features: When compared to alligators and crocodiles, a gharial has a very long and narrow snout (instead of a broad snout). Also, male gharial has a distinctive boss at end of snout, which resembles an earthenware pot.

Habitat: They are a fresh-water crocodile. They live in deep fast-flowing rivers with high sand banks that they use for basking and building nests.

Gharial population is found only in India and Nepal.

India: Mahanadi River, Girwa River, Son River, Chambal River, Ken River, Ramganga River. In India major ‘breeding’ populations are confined to two Chambal and Girwa rivers only. However Chambal River supports largest population of Gharials in wild.

Nepal: Rapti-Narayani River

Worry: They once inhabited all major river systems of Indian Subcontinent, from Irrawaddy River in east to Indus River in west. Their total distribution is now limited to only 2% of their former range.

IUCN Red List-Critically Endangered

Threats: Being hunted for skins, trophies and indigenous medicine. Their eggs are also collected for consumption. Major reason is decrease of riverine habitat as dams, barrages, irrigation canals and artificial embankments were built; siltation and sand-mining changed river courses.

Conservation & Protection:

Species Listed in Schedule 1 under Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Project Crocodile: It began in 1975 intensive captive breeding and rearing program. It was undertaken by Government of India in collaboration with United Nations Development Fund (UNDF) & Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)  intensive captive breeding and rearing program.

Protected areas: National Chambal Sanctuary and Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.




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