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Punjab’a wildlife preservation wing has reintroduced the Gharials in the rivers of Punjab where it had become extinct half a century ago.
Gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) or gavials are a critically endangered species of Asian crocodiles.
Their ghara (bulbous knob on their snout) makes them very efficient fishers and also renders gharial the only visibly sexually dimorphic crocodilian.
Habitat - Gharials live in clear freshwater river systems, congregating at river bends where the water is deeper. They’re not well-suited for land so they generally only leave the water to bask in the sun or to nest.
Once found from Pakistan to Myanmar, the reptile's range has shrunk to 2 countries - India, and Nepal (Narayani River).
In India, their natural habitat is found in the northern part of India, including the,
Primary Habitat - Chambal River
Secondary Habitat - Ghaghra and Gandak river, Girwa river (Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in UP), Ramganga river in Jim Corbett National Park and the Sone river.
Diet - They are carnivorous in nature. While adults eat fish, their offspring also eat insects, crustaceans, and frogs.
Conservation Efforts includes
Breeding Centres of Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow, UP.
National Chambal Sanctuary (Gharial Eco Park, Madhya Pradesh).
IUCN Red List of Species: Critically Endangered
CITES: Appendix I
Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Threats - As 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.
Beas Conservation Reserve
The Beas Conservation Reserve is a 185-kilometre stretch of the River Beas located primarily in the north-west of Punjab.
In 2019, the Reserve was declared a Ramsar site under the aegis of the 1971 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
The Reserve hosts the only known population in India of the endangered Indus river dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor).
Further threatened species include the endangered masheer (Tor putitora) and hog deer (Axis porcinus) as well as the vulnerable smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata).
In 2017, a programme was initiated to re-introduce the critically endangered gharial into the River 30 years after their disappearance.
Threats - Urban and domestic pollution, and impacts of agriculture.
By: Kirandeep kaur ProfileResourcesReport error
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