Gharial – UPSC Prelims

  • Gharials are one of the longest of all living crocodilians.
  • Features: 
    • Gharial is a fish-eating crocodile.
    • When compared to alligators and crocodiles, a gharial has a very long and narrow snout (instead of a broad snout).
    • Male gharial has a distinctive boss at end of snout, which resembles an earthenware pot.
  • Indicator Species: They are also a crucial indicator of clean river water.
  • Distribution:
    • Gharials were once abundant in the main rivers and tributaries of the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Mahanadi-Brahmani river systems.
    • But they are now limited to only 14 widely spaced and restricted localities of India and Nepal.
    • In India, Gharials are present in Son River, Girwa River, the Ganges, Mahanadi River, and the Chambal River.
    • The Satkosia gorge in the Mahanadi is the southernmost limit of gharials.
  • Protected areas: National Chambal Sanctuary and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
  • Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Threat: Construction of Dam, barrages, and water abstraction, entanglement in fishing nets, River bed cultivation, and sand mining.
  • Initiatives: Indian government launched Project Crocodile with UNDP and FAO in 1975. It included an intensive captive rearing and breeding programme intended to revive the dwindling gharial population.
Crocodiles in India: India has three species of Crocodiles, namely:
  1. Gharials (Gharials are genetically weaker than salt water crocodiles and muggers)
  2. Mugger crocodile IUCN Status: Vulnerable
  3. Saltwater crocodile IUCN Status: Least Concern.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top