Odisha renews effort to revive gharial population

  1. Odisha has released five gharials into the Satkosia gorge of Mahanadi- the southernmost limit of gharials’ home range in India.
  2. Odisha is the only State in India having all three species of crocodile— gharial, mugger and saltwater crocodile.
  3. Gharial is a species of crocodile. It derives its name from ghara, an Indian word for pot because of a bulbous knob present at the end of their snout.
  4. It is listed as “Critically Endangered” in the IUCN Red List. Presently, the wild populations of gharials can only be found in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
  5. In India, Gharials are present in Son River, Girwa River, the Ganges, Mahanadi River and the Chambal River.
  6. The major threat to gharials in India include: a) construction of Dam, barrages, and water abstraction, b) entanglement in fishing nets, c) River bed cultivation and d) sand mining.
  7. The National Chambal Sanctuary (Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) and Ken Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary (Madhya Pradesh) are wildlife sanctuaries in India that are dedicated to conservation and breeding programs of Gharial.
  8. The Indian government had initiated Project Crocodile with collaboration with UNDP and FAO in 1975. It included an intensive captive rearing and breeding programme intended to revive dwindling gharial population.