Gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) were recently released in the Ghaghara river by the Uttar Pradesh government for conservation and habitat protection.
In the Mahanadi River Basin, Odisha has given a cash prize of Rs 1,000 to help save gharials. Odisha has redoubled its efforts to reintroduce gharials to their natural habitat
by releasing five reptiles with radio transmitters into the Satkosia canyon of Mahanadi, India's southernmost gharial habitat.
FACTS ABOUT GHARIALS
• The long, narrow snouts of gharials, also known as gavials, distinguish them from other Asian crocodilians. Crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and other reptiles belong to the crocodilians family.
• In India there are three different species of crocodile:
o Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus): Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List
o Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris): IUCN- Vulnerable.
o Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus): IUCN- Least Concern.
• All three are listed on CITES Appendix I and Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972, respectively.
• The populations of saltwater crocodiles in Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea are included in CITES Appendix II.
PRIMARY HABITAT: CHAMBAL RIVER
• The chambal gets its name from the Singar Chouri peak on the Vindhya mountains' northern slopes (Indore, Madhya Pradesh).
• In the Etawah District of Uttar Pradesh, it enters the Yamuna River.
• Banas, Kali Sindh, and Parbati are tributaries.
• The National Chambal Sanctuary along the Chambal river is situated on the tri-junction of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
• The severely endangered gharials, and the endangered Ganges river dolphin are found here.
• The red-crowned roof turtle is also found in these regions.
• Ghaghra and Gandak rivers
• Girwa river and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh
• Ramganga river in Jim Corbett National Park
• Sone river
• Gharials are listed as severely endangered on the Red List of Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
• The Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972 lists it in Schedule I.
• The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora has it listed on Appendix I. (CITES).
Gharial numbers have risen to about 1,680 in the Chambal Sanctuary area, thanks to substantial conservation efforts by wildlife departments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh, as well as the comparatively undisturbed riverine environment of the Chambal, which runs through these three states.
• Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
• National Chambal Sanctuary or the Gharial Eco Park in Madhya Pradesh.
To protect the severely endangered gharials of the north Indian rivers, the Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre was founded in 1978.
Gharials are released after three years, when they are less vulnerable to predation, after the eggs are born in artificial hatcheries and the three-year-old juveniles are tagged.
Gharials have also been sent to zoos and natural parks all over the world. Healthy gharials from the Kukrail Centre can be spotted in Odisha, Kanpur, Delhi, West Bengal, Chennai, Bhutan, Tokyo, New York, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, to name a few places.
Bio-logging techniques are being used to better understand the underwater behaviour and natural habitats of free-ranging gharials.
Since the National Chambal Gharial crisis in December 2007, WWF-India has been active in the Species Recovery Programme.
WWF-India began a gharial reintroduction initiative at Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary in conjunction with the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department.
Till date, 250 captive-reared gharial from the Kukrail Rehabilitation Centre have been released into the Ganga river since January 2009.
A study on Gharial Bio-logging Science has been launched in partnership with the University of Tokyo in Japan and WWF-India to better understand the underwater behaviour and surrounding habitat of a free-ranging gharial.
WWF-India collaborates with local communities to gain support for biodiversity conservation in the Ganges River.
It involves education and awareness programmes as well as Village Panchayat Meetings. The Ganga Samrakshan Panchayat are organised to better understand and coordinate resource conservation, management, and development in the Upper Ganga Basin. It's also working to keep e-flows going while reducing the negative effects of unlawful sand mining, pollution, and riverbed farming.