Gharials Float Dead by the Dozens in Chambal
Following is a thought provoking and alarming article on the status of Gharials in India by Gauri Gharpure, who is currently working as a content writer and is an avid blogger herself.
Gharials float dead by the dozens in Chambal
December 13, 2007 4:22:51 PM
At least 21 gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) have been found dead in the Chambal River in Etawah’s Chakar Nagar sub-division of Uttar Pradesh in the National Chambal Santuary.
This reptile is listed in the Critically Endangered (CR) category of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources).
These deaths, the cause of which is yet to be ascertained, are a big blow to the Gharial Rehabilitation Project started in 1975. As no other acquatic species seems to be affected yet, whether the deaths were due to pollution, contagious disease, an endemic or poaching is perplexing the experts.
Preliminary post mortem reports point out that deaths were due to damage of liver and lungs.
According to IUCN, the mature gharial population in India stands at less than 200.
The estimated population of gharial is 1,976. However, state officials say that the IUCN figure may be representing the gharials in their natural habitat only.
Last month, Agra forest department officials facilitated the release of 40 alligators into River Chambal, their natural habitat.
Lucknow’s Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre (KGRC) is famous for the captive breeding of alligators. The officials said that the Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow has released around 3,782 Gharials in different rivers of the country. It has also gifted 288 Gharials to various countries and organisations in cities like New York, Tokyo, Islamabad and Kabul.
The Society for the Conservation of Nature, a non-government organisation (NGO), intimated the Forest Department after spotting two dead alligators near the river.
Forest officials in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh also launched a search in the river and found four alligator carcasses.
The fresh water Indian alligators (gharials) inhabit the Chambal, Girwa, Rapti and Narayani rivers of Central and Northern India.
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