A natural nesting of the endangered gharials have been spotted near the Mahanadi river in Odisha after 43 years. Giving the good news, Suvendu Behera, Assistant Conservator Of Forests said, “About 28 hatchlings were spotted in May in Mahanadi…”. The baby gharials are being closely monitored by officials, and CCTV and drones are also being used,” Mr Behera added. Belonging to the crocodile family, gharials were moved from the ‘Endangered’ to ‘Critically Endangered’ status by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Natural nesting of endangered gharials seen near Mahanadi river after 43 years in Baladamara area near Satkosia. “Odisha is the only state to have all 3 species- freshwater gharials, muggers & saltwater crocodiles,” said Suvendu Behera, Asst Conservator Of Forest, Anugul. (21.06) pic.twitter.com/OVC8993HiJ
— ANI (@ANI) June 22, 2021
Odisha is the only state in the country to have all three species – freshwater gharials, muggers and saltwater crocodiles, according to Mr Behera. The wild gharial population has declined drastically since the 1930s with the rapid increase in industrialization. River bank erosion, sand mining, river transportation, fishing and construction of dams restricting the flow of water are the main reasons pusing the gharials on the verge of extinction.
Gharials are known to prefer riverine habitats with sandy banks. The young gharials feed on a wide variety of insects and frogs and the adults mostly feed on fish. Gharials are found on eastern India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Gharials – with long and narrow snouts, and interlocking sharp teeth – can be easily distinguished from other crocodiles.