Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Crocodylus palustris, a crocodile species that is being removed from the Narmada

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Narmada river Crocodile

Mains level: Legal transportation of wild animals and provisions related to it


News

  • The Gujarat Forest Department has started evacuating muggers from two ponds on the Sardar Sarovar Dam premises on the Narmada, to facilitate a seaplane service at the Statue of Unity.

Narmada Crocodile

  1. The mugger crocodile, also called marsh crocodile or broad-snouted crocodile, is a species (Crocodylus palustris) native to freshwater habitats from southern Iran and Pakistan to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka.
  2. Already extinct in Bhutan and Myanmar, the mugger has been listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1982.
  3. In India, it is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  4. Vadodara, 90 km from the Narmada dam, is the only city in the country where crocodiles live in their natural habitat amidst human population.

Transportation is conditionally legal

  1. Among the six schedules in the Act, Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide the highest degrees of protection to listed species, with the most stringent penalties for offenders.
  2. For animals listed in Schedule I, any of kind of population control activity, capture for captivity, or transportation can involve cumbersome processes.
  3. This includes even transportation of crocodiles. So its relocation or capture is definitely illegal without permission.
  4. However, state governments have the authority to give permissions in some situations where they become a danger for the human population.

Why under Schedule I?

  1. Experts say crocodiles were listed under Schedule I not because of the fear of extinction but to prevent their trade.
  2. Crocodiles are valued for their skin and flesh.
  3. In some cases, they are also worshipped, including in the Narmada.

Back2Basics

Mugger

  • The mugger is a marsh crocodile which is found throughout the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is a freshwater species, and found in lakes, rivers and marshes.
  • IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Saltwater Crocodile

  • It is the largest of all living reptiles.
  • It is found along the eastern coast of India.
  • IUCN Status: Least Concerned

Gharial

  • The Gharial is a fish eating crocodile is native to the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is listed as a Critically Endangered by IUCN.
  • Small released populations are present and increasing in the rivers of the National Chambal Sanctuary, Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Son River Sanctuary.
  • It is also found at the rainforest biome of Mahanadi in Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary, Orissa.
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