Gharial habitat cannot be disturbed


Lucknow: Winters are turning inauspicious for ghariyals in Uttar Pradesh. More than 100 ghariyals died in the winter months last year at the National Chambal Sanctuary. This winter 1,000 ghariyals of Kukrail Rehabilitation Centre might perish due to hunger.

researchers have started telemetry tests on gharials in the Chambal river to gather information for the species

"Study will yield vital new information on their habitats " NEW DELHI: "We could be closer than ever before in understanding the real cause of the death of more than a hundred gharials at the National Chambal Sanctuary since December 2007," said Gharial Crisis Management Group chairman Ravi Singh here on Friday.

The Gharials, once abundant in river systems of the Indian subcontinent with its range extending throughout the Gangetic Plains, Indus river in Pakistan, northern Nepal and Bhutan, East Burma and southern Orissa, are reportedly extinct in Burma and Pakistan. The Indian Gharial is now confined to India, Nepal and Bangladesh, in scattered and isolated populations. (Correspondence)

Despite the mysterious death of more than 100 gharials in the Chambal river in the past three months, the Madhya Pradesh government today claimed that gharial and Magar population in Chambal national park has markedly increased while Gangestic river dolphins declined. A survey conducted on 435 Km stretch of the river from February 11 to 23 revealed that there were a total of 996 gharials as compared to 865 found last year, while the Magar population also rose from 194 to 219 during the period.

For a species classified as critically endangered, Gavialis gangeticus, or the gharial, has had it good over the years at Patna zoo. From just 11 in 2002, there are now over 130 gharials in the zoo, officially called the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park. And the number is only set to grow.