Species in news: Gharials
Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Environment; Conservation
- Recently, Odisha announced a cash award of Rs. 1,000 to conserve gharials in Mahanadi River Basin.
- Gharials (or gavials) are a type of Asian crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts.
- Crocodilians are a group of reptiles that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and more.
- India has three species of Crocodilians namely:
- Gharial: IUCN Red List- Critically Endangered
- Mugger crocodile: IUCN- Vulnerable.
- Saltwater crocodile: IUCN- Least Concern.
- All the three are listed on Appendix I of CITES and Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
- However, Saltwater Crocodile populations of Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are included in Appendix II of CITES.
- Habitats include: Fresh waters of the northern India – Chambal river, Ghagra, Gandak river and the Sone river (Bihar).
- Population of Gharials is a good indicator of clean river water.
- Conservation Efforts:
- Breeding Centres of Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, National Chambal Sanctuary (Gharial Eco Park, Madhya Pradesh).