Rescuing Gharials in Mahanadi River
♦ India has three species of Crocodilians namely:
♦ Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus): IUCN Red List- Critically Endangered
♦ Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris): IUCN- Vulnerable.
♦ Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus): IUCN- Least Concern.
♦ All the three are listed on Appendix I of CITES and Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
♦ Exception: Saltwater Crocodile populations of Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are included in Appendix II of CITES.
Habitat of Gharials:
♦ Natural Habitat: Fresh waters of the northern phase of India.
♦ Primary Habitat: Chambal river (a tributary of Yamuna).
♦ Secondary Habitat: Ghagra, Gandak river, Girwa river (Uttar Pradesh), the Ramganga river (Uttarakhand) and the Sone river (Bihar).
♦ Importance: Population of Gharials are a properly indicator of clean river water.
♦ Conservation Efforts: Breeding Centres of Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, National Chambal Sanctuary (Gharial Eco Park, Madhya Pradesh).
♦ The Mahanadi River machine is the 3rd biggest of peninsular India after Godavari and Krishna, and the biggest river of Odisha state. The catchment region of the river extends to Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Maharashtra. Its basin is bounded by using the Central India hills on the north, by the Eastern Ghats on the east & south and by means of the Maikala range on the west.