40 gharials released in Ghaghara river amid lockdown

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News: Uttar Pradesh Government has released Gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) in the Ghaghara river for the conservation and protection in natural habitat.

Facts:

  • Gharial: It is a species of Asian crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts which resembles a pot(ghara in Hindi).
  • Habitat: They prefer to live in riverine habitats with deep, clear, fast-moving water and steep, sandy banks.
  • Distribution: It was once found across Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.However,currently it survives in several severely fragmented populations in India and Nepal.
  • In India, Gharials are present in Son River, Girwa River, the Ganges, Mahanadi River and the Chambal River.
  • Protected areas: National Chambal Sanctuary and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • IUCN Red list: Critically Endangered 
  • Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I 
  • CITES: Appendix I 
  • Threat: Construction of Dam, barrages, and water abstraction, entanglement in fishing nets, River bed cultivation and sand mining.
  • Initiatives: Indian government launched Project Crocodile with UNDP and FAO in 1975.It included an intensive captive rearing and breeding programme intended to revive dwindling gharial population.