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