Expanded tiger reserve may see the return of gharials in Assam
- The Assam government has issued a preliminary notification to make Orang National Park more than thrice its existing size for conserving Gharials.
- On September 21 Government dropped the ‘Rajiv Gandhi’ prefix to Orang National Park given by the government in 1992.
- The Assam government is pursuing a policy for the reintroduction of the gharial that became locally extinct more than six decades ago.
- With better protection, the stretch of the Kaziranga-Orang landscape is ideal for sustaining the gharials.
- Gharials, sometimes called gavials, are a type of Asian crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts.
- Crocodilians are a group of reptiles.
- It includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and more.
- India has three species of Crocodilians namely:
- Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus): IUCN Red List- Critically Endangered
- Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris): IUCN- Vulnerable.
- Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus): IUCN- Least Concern.
- All the three are listed on Appendix I of CITES and Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
- Exception: Saltwater Crocodile populations of Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are included in Appendix II of CITES.
Habitat of Gharials
- Natural Habitat: Freshwaters of the northern part of India.
- Primary Habitat: Chambal river (a tributary of Yamuna).
- Secondary Habitat: Ghagra, Gandak River, Girwa river (Uttar Pradesh), the Ramganga river (Uttarakhand) and the Sone river (Bihar).
- Population of Gharials are a good indicator of clean river water.
- Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
- National Chambal Sanctuary (Gharial Eco Park, Madhya Pradesh).
- Increased river pollution, dam construction, massive-scale fishing operations and floods.
- Illegal sand mining and poaching.