After 45 Years of Conservation Odisha Welcomes First Gharial Hatchlings

After forty-five years of the launch of a conservation project of gharials, several Indian states are now sighting the natural nestling of gharials. Odisha has welcomed its first gharial hatchling in the Satkosia range of the Mahanadi river. Around 28 hatchlings were seen in May this year.

Gharial has been on the verge of extinction and is considered a genetically weak species compared to crocodiles and alligators. The conservation project started in 1945 at Gharial Research and Conservation Unit in Tikarapada, which was implemented even in Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary.

The officials are monitoring the young gharials closely with drones. The original gharials that lived in Odhisha are dead now. After waiting for more than 40 years to retrieve the gharials’ population naturally, the state introduced 13 more gharials in the last 3 years. Only 8 succeeded to survive. But unfortunately, the forest department lost 6, who moved out of the radar and the rest of the two are undetected.

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50 foresters have been assigned to monitor the hatchlings – camping close to the habitat, monitoring water bodies and making the residents aware of preserving gharials.

gharial - odhisha

Image: Down to Earth

It is estimated that gharial eggs need 70 days of incubation and are required to stay with their mother for many weeks and even months.

The officials would be monitoring them until they reach their natural habitat underwater. In recent years, habitats of gharials are under threat from encroachment and fishing. Gharials have been granted protection in the 1970s and were listed in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Via: India Today

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