Mugger Crocodile | 21 Apr 2022

Why in News?

Recently, the Indian Railways has delivered water to Pali district in western Rajasthan to ensure survival of Mugger Crocodile or Marsh Crocodile as the region’s water bodies have dried up due to a hot March.

What is Mugger or Marsh Crocodile?

  • Scientific Name: Crocodylus palustris
  • Description:
    • An egg-laying and hole-nesting species, also known to be dangerous.
  • Habitat:
    • Mainly restricted to the Indian subcontinent where it may be found in a number of freshwater habitat types and also in coastal saltwater lagoons and estuaries. 
    • It is already extinct in Bhutan and Myanmar.
  • Threats:
    • Habitat destruction, fragmentation, and transformation, fishing activities and use of crocodile parts for medicinal purposes.
  • Protection Status:

What are the Other Species of Crocodilian?

  • Estuarine or Saltwater Crocodile:
    • Considered as the Earth’s largest living crocodile species, infamous globally as a known maneater.
    • Found in Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park, the Sundarbans in West Bengal and the Andamans and Nicobar Islands.
      • Also found across Southeast Asia and northern Australia.
    • Protection Status:
      • IUCN List of Threatened Species: Least Concern
      • CITES : Appendix I (except the populations of Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, which are included in Appendix II).
      • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 : Schedule I
  • Gharial:
    • Sometimes called gavials, are a type of Asian crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts which resembles a pot (ghara in Hindi).
    • Mostly found in fresh waters of the himalayan rivers.
    • The Chambal river in the northern slopes of the Vindhya mountains (Madhya Pradesh) is known as the primary habitat of gharials.
    • Other himalayan rivers like Ghagra, Gandak river, Girwa river, Ramganga river and the Sone river are secondary habitats.
    • Protection Status:
      • IUCN List of Threatened Species: Critically Endangered
      • CITES: Appendix I
      • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I
    • Odisha has announced a cash award of Rs. 1,000 to conserve gharials in Mahanadi River Basin.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q. If you want to see gharials in their natural habitat, which one of the following is the best place to visit? (2017)

(a) Bhitarkanika Mangroves
(b) Chambal River
(c) Pulicat Lake
(d) Deepor Beel

Ans: (b)

Q. Consider the following fauna of India: (2013)

  1. Gharial
  2. Leatherback turtle
  3. Swamp deer

Which of the above is/are endangered?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 1, 2 and 3
(d) None

Ans: (c)

Q. Consider the following pairs: (2010)

     Protected area       Well-known for

  1. Bhiterkanika, Orissa : Salt Water Crocodile
  2. Desert National Park, : Great Indian Rajasthan Bustard
  3. Eravikulam, Kerala : Hoolak Gibbon

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 2 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (b)

Source: DTE