Gharial – India’s Most Critically Endangered Species of Reptile

The Gharial is one of the three species of crocodilians only found in Indian subcontinent. Gharial also known as Long-nosed crocodile is the longest living species of crocodilians in the world. They used to grow up to 7 m (23 ft), in the past history of India, giant Gharial were reported to kill in the Gogra and Kosi River. Due to hunting for skins,killing for medicine and habitat loss,Gharials are fall in the category of one of the most critically endangered species of animal in the world.

Indian-Gharial-Chambal

Distribution and Habitat

Chambal_river_valley

Gharials were used to roam in all major rivers of the Indian subcontinent,Indus River,the Brahmaputra and Irrawaddy River. Now the distribution is limited to only few rivers in India and due to loss of habitat,dying and polluted rivers,they are on the verge of extinction. Today small populations of Gharials are present in Son River,Girwa River,the Ganges, Mahanadi river and the Chambal river. National Chambal Sanctuary is the only place in India where a large wild population of India’s special crocodilian Gharial is found.

Threat of Extinction

death-of-Gharial-ChambalIndia’s special crocodilian Gharial population is the biggest concern for the wildlife lovers, Due to the river pollution, loss of riverine habitat and fishing gill nets, the Gharial came to the brink of extinction and fall in the critically endangered category. In the recent time more than 100 Gharials died in the Chambal River in Madhya Pradesh due to unknown cause, It was the worst incident in the history of Indian Gharials.

Conservation of Gharial

Chambal-Gharial-Wildlife-Sanctuary

The Gharial project involves conservation, Monitoring,reintroduction and bred in captivity. National Chambal Sanctuary also known as the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary along with the river Chambal in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh is the longest protected area for critically endangered Gharial Crocodiles, endangered Ganges River Dolphin and Red-crowned roof turtle.

Gharial-in-IndiaGharial-in-India

Other Conservation parks are Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary,Ken Ghariyal Wildlife Sanctuary and Madras Crocodile Bank Trust. The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is the place to save three Indian endangered species of crocodiles the mugger crocodile, the saltwater crocodile, and the Gharial.