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Biodiversity & Environment

Release of Gharials

  • 15 May 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently Government of Uttar Pradesh has released Gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) in the Ghaghara river for the conservation and protection in natural habitat.

Key Points

  • Natural Habitat: Fresh waters of the northern part of India.
  • Gharials, sometimes called gavials, are a type of Asian crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts which resembles a pot (ghara in Hindi).
  • Significance: Population of Gharials are a good indicator of clean river water.
  • Gharials are a type of Crocodilians that also includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, etc. India has three species of Crocodilians namely:
  • In comparison to Crocodiles, Gharials are very shy and unharmful species.
  • Primary Habitat: Chambal river
    • The chambal originates at the Singar Chouri peak in the northern slopes of the Vindhya mountains (Indore, Madhya Pradesh).
    • It joins the Yamuna River in Etawah District of UP.
    • Tributaries: Banas, Kali Sindh, Parbati.
    • The National Chambal Sanctuary is located along river Chambal on the tri-junction of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It is known for critically endangered gharials, the red-crowned roof turtle, and the endangered Ganges river dolphin.
  • Secondary Habitat: Ghaghra and Gandak river, Girwa river (Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh), the Ramganga river in Jim Corbett National Park and the Sone river.
  • Status: Gharials are critically endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Species.
  • Conservation Efforts: Breeding Centres of Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, National Chambal Sanctuary (Gharial Eco Park, Madhya Pradesh).
  • Threats:
    • Gharials prefer sandbanks as suitable habitats. Wild animals as well as humans often destroy their eggs.
    • Increased river pollution, dam construction, massive-scale fishing operations and floods.
    • Illegal sand mining and poaching.

Ghaghara River

  • It acts as an important aquatic corridor for gharials in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Its source is near Gurla Mandhata peak, south of Mansarovar in Tibet.
  • It is known as the Karnaili in Western Nepal.
  • It's important tributaries are the Sarda, the Sarju (Ayodhya is located on its bank) and the Rapti.
  • The Ghaghara joins the Ganga a few kilometres downstream of Chhapra in Bihar.
  • After reaching the plain area, its stream gets divided into many branches of which, Koriyab and Garwa are important.
  • The river bed is sandy and sudden bends start occurring in the stream.


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