From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Gharial, Mugger , Saltwater Crocodile
Mains level : Species reintroduction and various associated issues in news
Forty gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) were released in the Ghaghara River by the Bahraich forest division of Uttar Pradesh.
This year, we have seen many news focusing on species reintroduction into the wild. Can you recall them?? If not, Click Here.
And one may often get confused between the Mugger, Gharial and the Saltwater Crocodile. Note the differences about their IUCN status, habitat (freshwater/saltwater) etc..
- The Gharial is a fish-eating crocodile is native to the Indian subcontinent. They are a crucial indicator of clean river water.
- 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.
- Gharials are ‘Critically Endangered’ in the IUCN Red List of Species.
- The species is also listed under Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
Into the wild
- A major chunk of gharials in India is found in the Chambal River, which has about 1,000 adults.
- The Ghaghara acts as an important aquatic corridor for gharials in Uttar Pradesh. The river is a major left-bank tributary of the Ganges.
- About 250 gharials have been released in the Ghaghara since 2014.
- However, there are satellite populations of less than 100 adults in the Girwa River (Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh, the Ramganga River in Jim Corbett National Park and the Son River).
- Like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar too is releasing gharials in the Valmiki Tiger Reserve as part of restocking the wild population. Unlike crocodiles, gharials do not pose any danger to humans.
- 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
- It is the largest of all living reptiles.
- It is found along the eastern coast of India.
- IUCN Status: Least Concerned